Holocaust Survivor to Speak April 22 at Southeast



April 14, 2009 – In commemoration of Holocaust Day of Remembrance, Rudy Oppenheim, a Holocaust survivor, will speak April 22 at Southeast Missouri State University.

The event will be held at noon in the University Center Ballroom. It is free and open to the public.

Oppenheim 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 was born in 1938 in Germany. Early in 1939, in the aftermath of Kristallnacht and his father’s release from a concentration camp, the Oppenheim family left Germany. Because there were few countries that permitted Jews to emigrate during this period, Oppenheim and his family relocated to Shanghai for nearly two years.

In 1940, the Oppenheim family came to Granite City, the site of a fertilizer company with which Oppenheim’s father had done business for year while in Germany. In 1943, the family moved to St. Louis.

Oppenheim is a graduate of Washington University and worked as a chemist for 39 years before retiring in 1994. He has volunteered as a docent at the St. Louis Holocaust Museum and Learning Center. He also has served as president and caretaker of the Ohave Shalom Cemetery, which is the smallest Jewish cemetery west of the Mississippi.

Oppenheim and his wife, Frances, have four children.