Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Holocaust survivor, Medal of Freedom winner speaks at Randolph this week

Gerda Weissmann Klein's story has inspired millions.

She survived slave labor and brutal treatment during the Holocaust. Then she devoted her life to humanitarian service and spreading a message of hope. This year, she received the nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, from President Barack Obama.

This week, she brings her story to Randolph College.

Klein is coming to Lynchburg for an event co-sponsored by the College and the Holocaust Education Foundation of Central Virginia.

At 7:30 p.m. today, the community can view One Survivor Remembers, an Oscar-winning documentary based on her autobiography All But My Life, in the Smith Memorial Building, room 300.

Then, Klein will speak at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Smith Hall Theatre.

Klein was 15 years old when German troops invaded her home town of Bielsko, Poland. She survived six years of Nazi rule, slave labor, and concentration camps. In 1945 she was rescued by Kurt Klein, a U.S. Army Intelligence officer, whom she later married.

Klein's life work has been dedicated to promoting tolerance, encouraging service, and combating hunger. She has written numerous books. She and her late husband founded the Gerda and Kurt Klein Foundation to provide educational programs toward those purposes. In 2008, she founded Citizenship Counts, a national nonprofit organization that promotes values of citizenship and community service.

The College is happy to host Klein and hear her message this week.