UC San Diego’s Witnessing History series to begin Jan. 25


The UC San Diego Holocaust Living History Workshop (HLHW) launches a new series of events this winter, the “Witnessing History” series, focused on the topic of experiencing history in the making.

HLWH, sponsored by the UC San Diego Libraries and the Judaic Studies Program, will host four “Witnessing History” events during winter quarter as part of the HLHW’s ongoing effort to broaden understanding of the past and to foster tolerance. At the events, all of which are free and open to the public, attendees will have the opportunity to hear local Holocaust survivors share their stories and to learn about the Visual History Archive, the world’s largest database of Holocaust testimony. All events will be held in the Geisel Library’s Seuss Room, from 5 to 7 p.m., with the exception of the March 12 presentation, which will be held from 4 to 6 p.m.

January 25: Andrew Viterbi Remembers Fleeing Fascism

The winter series kicks off on January 25 with a presentation by Andrew J. Viterbi. Viterbi was born in the Italian town of Bergamo in 1935. When life became increasingly difficult for Jews in Mussolini’s Italy, his family decided to emigrate to the United States. Starting out as a virtually penniless refugee who could barely speak English, Viterbi later rose to prominence as an electrical engineer. Viterbi, who taught electrical engineering at UC San Diego, invented the Viterbi algorithm and co-founded both Linkabit and San Diego-based telecom company, Qualcomm. By way of providing a contrast to his own remarkable life story, Viterbi will also recount the wartime experiences of his brother-in-law Al Finci, a Yugoslavian Jew who went into hiding and later escaped to Switzerland, as well as the experiences of the renowned writer and Auschwitz survivor Primo Levi, his cousin by marriage. UC San Diego Professor Deborah Hertz will provide a brief historical introduction to provide context for Viterbi’s narratives.