CORVALLIS, Ore. - Auschwitz survivor and 2015 Elie Wiesel Award-winner Thomas Buergenthal will speak at Oregon State University in Corvallis as part of the university's annual observance of Holocaust Memorial Week, April 13-21.

Born in Slovakia in 1934, Buergenthal recounted his survival of Auschwitz in the memoir, "A Lucky Child." After coming to the United States he became a prominent legal scholar, specializing in international law. He has served as a judge on several panels that have dealt with human rights issues, including 10 years of service on the International Court of Justice.

Buergenthal will speak at 7:30 p.m. April 21 in the Austin Auditorium at the LaSells Stewart Center, 875 S.W. 26th St., Corvallis. His talk will focus on his experience during World War II and his perspective on international law's role in combatting persecution and protecting human rights.

For the first time in the event's 29-year history, Holocaust Memorial Week this year will be expanded to include an event in Portland. Buergenthal and OSU faculty members will participate in a panel discussion on religious and human rights at 7 p.m. Monday, April 20, at the Mittleman Jewish Community Center, 6651 S.W. Capitol Highway, in Portland. Other panelists are Rena Lauer, Amy Koehlinger, Stuart Sarbacker and Paul Kopperman of OSU.

Holocaust Memorial Week is presented by the School of History, Philosophy and Religion in OSU's College of Liberal Arts in association with the City of Corvallis and School District 509-J. All events are free and open to the public. This year's program includes a special focus on human rights and women's rights.

Other Holocaust Memorial Week events are:

  • Human rights lawyer Gabriela Rivera of Guatemala will speak about sexual violence against indigenous women in Guatemala at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 13, in the C & E Auditorium in the LaSells Stewart Center.
  • A virtual "tour" of Auschwitz will be presented by OSU philosophy instructor Marta Kunecka at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 14, in the Horizon Room in the Memorial Union at OSU. Kunecka conducted tours of the concentration camp while in graduate school in Krakow, Poland, and will recreate the experience using visual aids.
  • "Watchers of the Sky," a documentary film about Raphael Lemkin, who coined the term genocide, will be shown at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 15, in the C &E Auditorium in the LaSells Stewart Center.
  • Elizabeth Heineman, a feminist historian who has written extensively on the subject of women in Nazi Germany, will be giving a talk entitled "Human Rights Law and the Issue of Violence against Women," at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 16, in the C & E Auditorium in the LaSells Stewart Center.
  • Two academic conferences, the Social Justice Conference and the International Health Symposium, will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, April 16, in the Journey Room in the Memorial Union, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, April 17, in the Snell International Forum at OSU. Students will present papers on topics such as violence against women, gender rights and human rights, LGBTQ rights and acceptance, and the relationship between gendered violence and genocide. For more information on the conferences, visit http://liberalarts.oregonstate.edu/sjc.

For more information about the events, visit http://oregonstate.edu/dept/holocaust

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Source: 

Robert Peckyno, 541-737-8560 or Robert.peckyno@oregonstate.edu