Two lectures by Holocaust survivors, a film and an art exhibit are planned at the University of St. Thomas April 18 and 19 in connection with Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Memorial Day) that is observed this year on April 19.
The events, free and open to the public, are sponsored by St. Thomas’ University Lectures Committee and the Jay Phillips Center for Jewish-Christian Learning at St. Thomas and St. John’s University.
Zev Kedem lecture
The first lecture, “Schindler’s List: A Survivor Celebrates Life,” will be given by Zev Kedem at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 18, in O’Shaughnessy Educational Center auditorium.
Kedem was 8 years old when the Nazis entered Krakow, Poland, and either slaughtered Jews or sent them to concentration camps. For the next three years he endured the horror of six camps, including Auschwitz, and managed to survive by being placed on the now-famous list of 1,100 Jews who were saved by industrialist Oskar Schindler.
After being liberated in 1945, Kedem went to England to live in an orphanage. He received an engineering degree at Oxford, married and moved to Jerusalem where he helped to rebuild the Old City. He became immersed in the ancient history of Jerusalem and began making documentary films. Kedem later consulted on, and appeared in, Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning “Schindler’s List.”
For more information about Kedem’s talk, call the University Lectures Committee at (651) 962-6136.
“Weapons of the Spirit” Lecture
A Yom Hashoah program, featuring the film “Weapons of the Spirit” and a talk by two Twin Cities residents, Nelly Trocmé Hewett and Francelyne Lurie, will begin at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, April 19, in O’Shaughnessy Educational Center auditorium.
The 30-minute film tells the story of how the residents in and around the French village of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon harbored Jews and other refugees during World War II. Following the film, Hewett and Lurie will share memories of their childhood years in Le Chambon.
Hewett grew up in the village, where her parents, Pastor André and Magda Trocmé, were very involved with the massive effort to shelter refugees during the Holocaust years. Later, the people of the region were honored at Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Memorial. Hewett is a retired high school French teacher and lives in St. Paul.
Lurie was one of the Jewish children who found refuge from the Nazis in Le Chambon. Her parents, Yves and Paulette Oppert, were major figures in the French resistance; Yves Oppert was killed just weeks before the end of the war. Lurie, who lives in Minnetonka, is past president of both the Women’s Division of the Minneapolis Federation for Jewish Service and the Jewish Family and Children’s Service.
Auschwitz documentary and art exhibit
The 30-minute documentary, “Choosing One’s Way: Resistance in Auschwitz-Birkenau,” will be shown continuously from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 18, and from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Thursday, April 19, in O’Shaughnessy Educational Center auditorium.
The documentary tells the story about how Auschwitz prisoners smuggled gunpowder to destroy one of the camp’s crematoriums. The film won the Hugo Award at the 1995 Chicago Film Festival.
An exhibit of watercolors done at Auschwitz by Chicago artist Jordan Krimstein will be on display in the O’Shaughnessy Educational Center foyer during April. The paintings were commissioned in connection with the documentary, “Choosing One’s Way,” and depict what Auschwitz looks like today.
The paintings and documentary, both done in 1994 and 1995, are being provided by the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University of Minnesota.
For more information about the Hewett-Lurie talk, the documentary or art show, call the Jay Phillips Center for Jewish-Christian Learning at (651) 962-5788.