Holocaust Remembrance Day to Feature Holocaust, Concentration Camp Survivors

Photo of Maria Szapszewicz

Maria Szapszewicz is a survivor of the Auschwitz and Bergen-Belson concentration camp.(View a larger image of Szapszewicz)

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

April 12, 2006 – Southeast Missouri State University will observe Holocaust Remembrance Day April 26 with presentations by Holocaust and Concentration Camp survivors.

Maria Szapszewicz, a survivor of the Auschwitz and Bergen-Belson concentration camp, will speak during Common Hour from noon to 1:15 p.m. in the University Center Ballroom. Rudy Oppenheim, who survived the Holocaust, will speak at 3:30 p.m. in the Honors House at 902 College Hill in Cape Girardeau. Both events are free and open to the public.

Through her tribulation at the hands of the Nazis, Szapszewicz endured difficult working conditions, near-starvation and a typhus epidemic, as well as tuberculosis double pneumonia she contracted in a cattle car while in transit between concentration camps. Her father was killed in the ghetto. She was selected to work in an ammunition factory. At the time she was liberated on April 15, 1945, she weighed 55 pounds. Szapszewicz said she swore she would tell of the Jews’ suffering if she survived her ordeal, and she is making good on her promise.

Oppenheim was born in Elmshorn, Germany. He will discuss his experiences during the Holocaust, including being compelled to leave an Aryan school as a child, his father being sent to a concentration camp for several weeks after Kristallnacht, and his family’s emigration to Shanghai, China, with 20,000 other German and Austrian Jews after his father’s release.  Oppenheim is a docent and speaker at the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center in St. Louis.

Photo of Rudy Oppenheim

 Rudy Oppenheim is a holocaust survivor.(View a larger image of Oppenheim)