Fanny Starr, who survived internment in several Nazi concentration camps during World War II, is this year’s featured speaker for Holocaust Awareness Week on the Colorado State University campus. The 95-year-old survivor will talk about her experiences as well as her continuing work over the past decades sharing her firsthand testimony in a variety of media.
The Evening with a Holocaust Survivor will be held Feb. 22, 6:30-9:30 p.m., in the Lory Student Center Ballroom on the CSU campus. The event is free and open to the public.
Starr was born in Lodz, Poland, in 1922, and was forced into slave labor in Auschwitz and other camps. She lost most of her family before she was finally liberated from Bergen Belsen by the British Army in April 1945. After the war, she and her husband Zesa Starr settled in Denver and dedicated themselves to keeping the memory of the horrors of the Holocaust – and her message of hope in the face of such horrors – alive for future generations.
“Remembering is a Jewish obligation as part of the process to action – creating a better world,” said Rabbi Yerachmiel Gorelik, a member of the CSU philosophy faculty. “We must bear witness to the testimony in order to honor and never forget the victims and also because humanity has yet many lessons to learn from this dark chapter in history.”
In addition to personal and television appearances, Starr has also shared her story with the Holocaust Memorial Museum and StoryCorps, which is archived in the Library of Congress. The online portal Second Life gave her a new platform to reach – and interact with – audiences around the world, with the assistance of her daughter, Helen.
Holocaust Awareness Week at CSU will start on Friday, Feb. 17, when the Field of Flags will be planted on the Lory Student Center plaza. Flags of different colors will represent those killed in the Nazi camps. The Field of Flags will provide the backdrop for the Litany of Martyrs during the next week – Feb. 20-23 – a reading of the names behind the flags. (Readings will take place inside the LSC in case of inclement weather.)
On Monday, Feb. 20, writer Dr. Bruce Arlen Wasserman will speak about “The Breach Beyond: Literature and The Holocaust,” noon-2 p.m. in the Lory Student Center Cherokee Park Ballroom. Wasserman, whose work was recently nominated for the Pushcart Prize for poetry, lives in Fort Collins.
On Feb. 21, the film The Pianist will be shown at 6 p.m. in the LSC Theatre.
And then on Feb. 24 at 1 p.m., the Field of Flags will also be the site for a memorial service (or inside the LSC depending on the weather).
Holocaust Awareness Week at CSU is sponsored by ASCSU, Chabad, Hillel, AEPI, SAEPi, LSC Diversity Grant, and Students for Holocaust Awareness.