San Diego Holocaust Survivors to Share Their Personal Stories in Holocaust Living Workshop Feb. 3 - Mar.3, 2010

Nearly 700 member of campus and San Diego communities attend workshop events in 2009

January 27, 2009 – The Holocaust Living History Workshop, sponsored by the UC San Diego Libraries and the Judaic Studies Program, will host four presentations during winter quarter by local Holocaust survivors. The Holocaust Living History Workshop is an educational outreach program designed to preserve the memory of victims and survivors of the Holocaust.

Four San Diego-based survivors will present their stories, including Dr. Edith Eger on Feb. 3, Ruth Klampert on Feb. 17, Fred Schenk on Feb. 24, and Dr. Robert Frimtzis on Mar. 3. At these presentations, members of the campus community and the public will have the opportunity to meet the survivors and hear their stories, as well as learn about other survivors' testimony from the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive, which includes the personal stories of more than 50,000 survivors of the Holocaust. All presentations are free and open to the public, and will take place at 5 p.m. in the Seuss Room on the main floor of the Geisel Library building.

At the Feb. 3 presentation, Dr. Edith Eger will discuss her experiences as a survivor of the Auschwitz, Mauthausen, and Gunskirchen concentration camps. Eger, who came to the U.S. with her husband and daughter in 1949, has a psychotherapy practice, and counsels patients with post-traumatic stress disorder. She holds a Ph.D in psychology and also has an appointment at UC San Diego. Eger is a contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul and travels the globe to share her story with others.

Ruth Klampert, who will recount her experiences on Feb. 17, escaped from Vienna and fled to the U.S. with her mother in 1940. Her story provides a unique perspective from the vantage point of a child who knew little about her family's past.

On Feb. 24, Fred Schenk will discuss the experiences of his father, Sydney Schenk, and his perspective as the child of a Holocaust survivor. Sydney Schenk, who grew up in Peregrul-Mare, in what was then Austria-Hungary, was liberated in Yugoslavia at the end of the war.

Dr. Robert Frimtzis will present his personal recollections of life during the Holocaust, as well as his life subsequently as a flight and aerospace engineer for NASA, Hughes Aircraft Company, and TRW. His book, From Tajikistan to the Moon, chronicles his experiences escaping from the Nazis and his postwar career.

The UC San Diego Libraries are one of only three university libraries on the West Coast to have access to the USC Shoah Foundation Institute Visual History Archive, founded by film maker Steven Spielberg to document the stories of Holocaust survivors for his movie, "Schindler's List." In 1994, Spielberg established the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, a non-profit organization, to collect and preserve more than 50,000 firsthand accounts of survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust. The foundation became the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education in 2006.

The Holocaust Living History Workshop, launched in 2007, aims to teach the history of the Holocaust through two methods of face-to-face contact, both with Holocaust survivors and their children and through the Visual History Archive. Student volunteers have received special training on how to search through the testimonies in the massive Archive, and then teach survivors and their families—from multiple generations—how to use the database. These families can then use the archive to conduct their own searches in order to learn about other people, and in some cases relatives, who had similar Holocaust experiences.

The archive of 52,000 digital oral histories recorded by Holocaust survivors and other witnesses is the foundation for the Holocaust Living History Workshop, a program that has brought together UC San Diego students, San Diego holocaust survivors, and their children. The Workshop, which was established to expand the usefulness and the impact of the Archive, has proven to be a powerful tool for discovering family history and preserving memories for survivors, their families, and members of the community.

The Visual History Archive, which includes the testimonies of Holocaust survivors from 40,000 specific geographic locations in languages ranging from Bulgarian and Greek to Japanese and Spanish, can be accessed by members of the public from any computer on the UC San Diego campus.

To find out more about UC San Diego's Holocaust Living History Workshop, contact Amy Edwards at (or 858.534.7661) or go to: Interested members of the public are welcome to attend one of the weekly Visual History Archive training open-houses, held on Wednesdays from 5-7 p.m.

The UC San Diego Libraries, ranked among the top 25 public academic research libraries in the nation, play an integral role in advancing and supporting the university's research, teaching, patient care, and public service missions. The nine libraries that make up the UCSD Library system provide access to more than 7 million digital and print volumes, journals, and multimedia materials to meet the knowledge demands of scholars, students, and members of the public. Each day, more than 7,300 people stream through one of the university's nine libraries. The Libraries' vast resources and services are accessed more than 87,500 times each day via the UCSD Libraries' Web site.

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