Colorado residents Jack Adler, Eric Cahn and Andre Mark will share their experiences as Holocaust survivors during Colorado State University’s 12th Annual Holocaust Awareness Week Survivor’s Panel at 7 p.m. March 3 in the Lory Student Center Main Ballroom.
"All of the survivors on our panel represent stories of strength and persistence," said Molly Zwerdlinger, president of Students for Holocaust Awareness Week. "It’s important to hear the stories of Holocaust survivors today because soon we won’t be able to hear their stories firsthand."
Adler is the only member of his immediate family who survived the Nazi death camps. He was born in Pabianice, Poland, on Feb. 1, 1929. When the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939, he and his family
were forced to live in a ghetto where his mother and brother were among the many people who died. His two sisters later died at Auschwitz and his father at Dachau.
In 1945 at the age of 16, Adler moved to Chicago after being liberated by American soldiers. He finished high school and went on to study at the Roosevelt University Walton School of Commerce, where he graduated. He married in 1953 and is the father of two children.
Adler moved to Denver in 1985, where he began to share the story of his painful past. Each year, he speaks to more than 45,000 people.
Cahn was born in Germany and was a toddler during the time of the Holocaust. A French Christian family risked their lives to hide him in their basement while his parents were imprisoned in Auschwitz, where his mother later died and his father barely survived.
After World War II, Cahn’s father sent him and his younger sister to live with their grandparents in Colorado. They were later sent to a Jewish orphanage in Denver when their elderly grandparents were no longer able take care of them. He graduated from the University of Colorado-Boulder where he earned two degrees. He eventually married and is the father of three children.
Since the early 1990’s, Cahn has devoted much time to sharing his experiences to various crowds, particularly schoolchildren.
Mark was sent to multiple concentration camps during the Holocaust, starting when he was 13 years old. He spent time at the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps, among many others. He survived by playing soccer for the Nazis, serving mechanic duty and working in a factory. He weighed 60 pounds when he was liberated. He lost all of his family to the war except two aunts.
Mark moved to Denver shortly after the war and was so traumatized by his experience that he did not share his story with anyone until almost 40 years after the Holocaust. He heard a professor in Denver speak of the Holocaust as a hoax, which pushed him to tell his story to his family. He first spoke publicly about his experience in 1982 on a radio talk show at one of the first Denver area Holocaust Awareness events.
Holocaust Awareness Week is sponsored by Students for Holocaust Awareness and Hillel. For more information and a complete list of events, contact Hillel at Colorado State University at (970) 491-2080 or refer to the calendar on the Hillel Web site at www.csu.hillelcolorado.org.
All events are free and open to the public. The Associated Students of Colorado State University, Hillel of Colorado and the Association for Student Activity Programming are sponsoring the events.