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Holocaust survivor to speak on campus

Author Benjamin Jacobs part of SSE lecture series

Author Benjamin Jacobs will tell his story about how he survived the Holocaust to UNM students tonight.

Jacobs, who wrote The Dentist of Auschwitz: A Memoir, will speak on campus at 7 p.m. in Woodward Hall, room 101.

Shelli Rosenfeld, Student Special Events speakers’ director, said she the speech is part of a speakers series. Rosenfeld said she chose Jacobs as one of the speakers because she thought the Holocaust was something different to talk about. She added that many students don’t know about the personal effects of it because New Mexico does not have a very large Jewish population.

“It’s not a big thing out here,” she said. “But now, with the opening of the Holocaust Museum, people are becoming more aware of it.”

Rosenfeld said Jacobs will talk about how his profession saved his life during in the death camps. She said because he was a dentist, the Nazis assigned him to pull the gold teeth from bodies after they had been burned, in addition to dental testing and examining.

Jacobs has appeared on public and commercial television and radio. He was recently recorded by the Shoah Foundation, which chronicles Holocaust survivor’s experiences, and was interviewed by Steven Spielberg’s film crew for the “History of the Holocaust” documentary. He is also a member of the American Federation of Holocaust Survivors and the Brookline Massachusetts Holocaust Remembrance Committee.

Rosenfeld said she wants this event to challenge students’ outlooks on history. She said history is very important for students to learn about, even though it may not have affected them directly.

She said she would not have been in this country if it hadn’t been for the Holocaust because her family had fled to the United States to escape the death camps.

“History is still alive,” Rosenfeld said. “This man is living history. We can’t go back and listen to people who were in the Civil War, but we can still get a living account of what happened in World War II.”

She said some people still think the Holocaust never happened, but they might change their minds when they listen to a firsthand account of the horrors that happened during Adolf Hitler’s campaign of genocide.

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