Fairfield University to remember the six million who perished during the Holocaust


Image: Holocaust serviceWhile the number of Holocaust survivors dwindles as the years pass, it becomes increasingly important to hear their stories. Toward that end, the annual Holocaust Remembrance Service at Fairfield University, taking place Monday, April 23 at 4:30 p.m., will feature Sol Rosenkranz, who survived Treblinka, Buchenwald and other concentration campus in Poland.

Co-sponsored by Fairfield University's Bennett Center for Judaic Studies and Campus Ministry, the event, free and open to the public, will be held in the Egan Chapel of St. Ignatius Loyola, on the Fairfield campus.

"This annual event is vital to help students understand the scope of this tragic era, while serving as a reminder of the six million individuals who were murdered at the hands of the Nazis," said Ellen M. Umansky, Ph.D., director of the Bennett Center for Judaic Studies. "It's one of the most moving events at the University and I'm especially pleased that Sol Rosenkranz, who I've been privileged to hear before, will be with us."

Born in Grabow, Poland, Mr. Rosenkranz, 94, will share his tragic history of how his family perished after being sent to the camps. His older, married brother was set to go to a concentration camp, but another brother volunteered to go in his place so that the older brother could remain with his wife and child. Ultimately, Rosenkranz's mother, brother, two sisters and a sister-in-law died. Despite being shuttled to different camps, Rosenkranz survived, as did one brother. They never learned the fate of their father who was taken by Nazi soldiers.

Speaking of returning to the concentration camp Treblinka years later, Rosenkranz told CNN.com: "I would never have gone but for my children. I wanted them to see where I came from, what I saw with my own eyes. I saw people going to their deaths. I lost my family. It was just impossible." 

He will also recount how he rebuilt his life after World War II ended. Now living in New York City, he serves as a gallery educator at the Museum of Jewish Heritage.

The service at Fairfield will include the recitation of the Kaddish, the Jewish mourning prayer, followed by a candle lighting ceremony known as a Yahrzeit.

Dr. Umansky is also involved in the planning of the annual Holocaust Commemoration organized by the Fairfield Holocaust Commemoration Committee, of which she is a member. The event will take place on Wednesday, April 25 at 7:30 p.m. at First Church Congregational, 148 Beach Road, in Fairfield. This year's speaker will be Harry Weichsel, a Bridgeport resident who survived the 1938 Kristallnacht program in Nazi Germany.

For more information about the Bennett Center for Judaic Studies and Campus Ministry, visit www.fairfield.edu/judaic/index.html and www.fairfield.edu/student/cm_about.html.

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on April 10, 2012

Vol. 44, No. 260