Dave Gewirtzman, a child Holocaust survivor, and Eugenie Mukeshimana, a survivor of Rwandan genocide, will share their "Voices of Survival" as part of Colorado State University’s 11th Annual Holocaust Awareness Week at 7 p.m. Feb. 27 in the Lory Student Center Theatre.
Although the two speakers come from very different life experiences, they share the strong bond of being survivors of genocide.
"There is something about survivors," Gewirtzman said. "No matter our race or religion or country, there is some bond that keeps us together."
Hedy Berman, Hillel director at Colorado State, was impressed with an earlier talk by Gewirtzman and Mukeshimana that she attended.
"Several students and I were fortunate enough to hear their presentation and were so moved by their inspiring message of survival and their determination to teach about crimes against humanity that we felt we wanted to bring them to CSU this year," Berman said.
As a child survivor of the Holocaust, Gewirtzman knows the importance of sharing his experiences with the world. Gewirtzman, born in Losice, Poland in 1928, survived the Losice Ghetto labor camp and years of hiding before moving to the United States in 1948.
Since retiring in 1995, Gewirtzman and his wife Lillian became involved with the Nassau Holocaust Memorial and Educational Center in Glen Cove, N.Y. In November 2004, he was honored by the Anti-Defamation League at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. In December of the same year, he received "The Global Peace and Tolerance Award" from the United Nations. Gewirtzman travels to high schools and colleges to lecture about his experiences during the Holocaust and the lessons to be learned from them.
Mukeshimana, a native of Rwanda, survived an incident of Rwandan genocide in 1994 and managed to seek refuge in the United States with her daughter. She holds a bachelor’s in social work and is currently pursuing a master’s in Holocaust and genocide studies. She has particular interest in genocide and hate crimes studies as well as gender-based violence against women in regions of conflict.
Since 2002, Mukeshimana has been involved in outreach educational programs to raise awareness about genocide and human rights issues. Most recently, she was a panelist at the 59th Annual United Nations-DPI/NGO Conference on Human Security and Sustainable Development.
Gewirtzman’s and Mukeshimana’s shared passion of educating through first-hand testimonies inspires them to speak together to audiences throughout the United States. Their powerful messages teach audiences about how forming strong alliances and meaningful friendships can aid in confronting hatred and standing up against all forms of injustice and oppression.
This program is also sponsored by the Office of Black Student Services as part of Black History Month.
For more information about Holocaust Awareness Week at Colorado State, contact Hillel at (970) 491-2080 or visit http://csu.hillelcolorado.org.