William Donat featured speaker at Holocaust Remembrance Service sponsored by the Center for Judaic Studies at Fairfield University


Holocaust survivor William Donat, one of a handful of children to escape the Warsaw Ghetto, will share his experiences at a Holocaust Remembrance Service, Wednesday, April 10 at 5 p.m. in the Egan Chapel of St. Ignatius Loyola at Fairfield University.

Born in Warsaw, Poland in 1937, Donat was barely two when German troops invaded his homeland and confined him, his parents and other Jews to the ghetto. Smuggled to safety at age five, he spent the remainder of the war in a Catholic orphanage, while his parents were sent first to the Majdanek death camp, then separately to various concentration camps. Both parents survived the Holocaust, and the Donat family was reunited.

In 1946, Donat arrived in the United States. He grew up in New York City and graduated from Bronx High School of Science in 1956. After graduating Colgate University in 1960, he served in the United States armed forces and later pursued a career in book publishing and graphic arts. His father, Alexander Donat, authored several books including "The Holocaust Kingdom," a wartime family memoir. The book was re-released in 1999, with William Donat serving as editor.

Donat has served as pro bono editor and chairman of the Holocaust Library, a non-profit organization that has published more than 50 books about the Nazi persecution of Jews in Europe. Currently, he is a member of the editorial committee of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., and an active speaker for the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City. Donat often speaks on interfaith tolerance, his childhood experiences, and 20th-century immigration to New York City. He lives in Westchester County, N.Y., with his wife, Ellen.

The Holocaust Remembrance Service is sponsored by the university's Carl and Dorothy Bennett Center for Judaic Studies; Campus Ministries; and KADIMA, the university's Jewish undergraduate student group. The Bennett Center is under the direction of Ellen M. Umansky, Ph.D. The service is free and open to the public. Reservations are recommended. Call Judaic Studies at (203) 254-4000, x2066.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on March 25, 2002

Vol. 34, No. 188