Survival Celebrated at Colorado State University’s 13th Annual Holocaust Awareness Week March 2-6

Students for Holocaust Awareness and Hillel present the 13th Annual Holocaust Awareness Week at Colorado State University March 2-6.

Professor Daniel Goldhagen, author of the national bestseller "Hitler’s Willing Executioners," will speak at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 4 at the Lory Student Center Theatre. A book signing will follow the presentation.

Goldhagen’s book began as his Harvard doctoral dissertation and discusses the presence of anti-Semitism in pre-Nazi German culture and possible perpetrator motives. Goldhagen is an American political scientist and former associate professor of political science and social studies at Harvard University. As the son of a retired Harvard professor and Holocaust survivor, Erich Goldhagen, Daniel had an interest in the origins of the Holocaust from a young age. Goldhagen acknowledges his father for laying the groundwork of intellectual discussion on the subject.

At 7 p.m. Monday, March 2, two Holocaust survivors will share their stories in the Lory Student Center Main Ballroom during the annual Survivors Panel. Walter Plywaski and Doris Fedrid will each share their personal stories of survival during the Holocaust. A question-and-answer session with the audience will follow.

During World War II, Fedrid’s family lived in the Tarnopul ghetto for two years. She and her parents worked in a Nazi labor camp where her mother’s responsibility was to wash and sew the Nazi uniforms. The Fedrid family escaped the ghetto by hiding in a non-Jew’s barn for many nights.

Walter Plywaski and his family were forced into the Lodz ghetto in Lodz, Poland when he was ten years old. Although his immediate family survived after four years in the ghetto, approximately 40 other family members perished there. Plywaski was transported to Dachau after he lost his mother in Auschwitz, but he was able to escape. Plywaski and his brother were picked up by U.S. Army Troops and sent to live in the United States. He is currently retired and living in the Rocky Mountain foothills near Boulder.

At 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 3, the film "Life is Beautiful" will be shown in the Lory Student Center Theatre. "Life Is Beautiful" (Italian: La vita ? bella) is a 1997 Italian language film which tells the story of a Jewish Italian, Guido Orefice, played by Roberto Benigni, who also directed and co-wrote the film, who must learn how to use his imagination to help his son survive their internment in a Nazi concentration camp.

At noon on Thursday, March 5, speaker Ron Sladek, historian and son and grandson of Holocaust survivors, will give an interactive presentation on the impacts of the Holocaust on his family in the Lory Student Center Room 203-205. Scott Wisor, a genocide opponent, will discuss current countries affected by genocide at 7 p.m., in the Cherokee and North Ballrooms of the Lory Student Center.

A Field of Flags ceremony will take place at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 27 on the Lory Student Center Plaza. The flags will be on display during the entire week on the Lory Student Center Plaza. The flags represent the different groups murdered during the Holocaust, with each flag representing 5,000 victims.

Additionally, a Litany of Martyrs will be held from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Monday, March 2 and Wednesday, March 4 and 10 a.m. – 12 noon Friday, March 6 in the Lory Student Center Sunken Lounge. During this time, volunteers will take turns reading names of some of those who died during the Holocaust. Community members are welcome to volunteer for this event.

The week will conclude with a memorial service at noon, Friday, March 6 in the Lory Student Center Theatre lobby.

Holocaust Awareness Week is sponsored by Hillel, Students for Holocaust Awareness, ASCSU and ASAP.  For more information and a complete list of events, contact Josh Samet, Hillel campus director at Colorado State University at (970) 224-4246 or visit the Web site

All events are free and open to the public through funding provided by the Associated Students of Colorado State University, Hillel of Colorado and the Association for Student Activity Programming.