As one survivor of the Holocaust recounted her experiences to universities across America, students sat in crowded rooms and watched on big screen projections.
A live video-broadcast of “One Survivor Remembers” with Gerda Weissman Klein, an 83-year-old Holocaust survivor, was shown at Walk Auditorium in Ritter Hall Tuesday. Temple University was one of 12 schools watching the lecture broadcast live from the University of Pennsylvania, where Klein, an Academy Award winner, attempted to inspire her listeners.
“It gives me hope and I’m proud,” said senior math and secondary education major Judy Lebovic, “Even though I know my grand-pops story, every story is unique.”
Although Klein began her lecture by recounting her horrific experience from the Holocaust, she also spoke about problems in the world now, including hunger and violent struggle.
“I don’t want to live in a world where a potato is more valuable than an Oscar. And I don’t want children to be in a world where an Oscar is so important that you forget that there are people who do not have a potato,” Klein said.
Klein told her audiences that one should not focus on what is missing from one’s life; rather, she said people should embrace what they do have.
Although the lecture began with a very solemn and formal tone, students watching at Walk Auditorium began to laugh during the question and answer period as Klein, along with members of the 12 interactive universities, became very comfortable.
A member of Fordham University’s audience asked Klein, “What are your plans for the future?”
“Are you kidding?” Klein said possibly referencing her age, which led to immediate laughter among Temple’s crowd.
Many of Klein’s responses were still serious, however.
Klein’s husband died five years ago, yet she said, “I’m still in love with him.”
Many students said they gained a lot from hearing Klein speak.
“I think everyone in there will have a new appreciation,” said sophomore political science and philosophy major Sean Goldman, “She was amazing.”
It was announced at the end of this lecture that all of Klein’s various events had reached over 122,000 educators across the globe, according to Nancy Fox, the associate director of the Gerda and Kurt Klein Foundation.
Not everyone can see Klein’s presentations in person, so the video-broadcasts are allow many more students to witness her views on peace.
After reading Klein’s address to the United Nations, the University of Pennsylvania decided to help her host a lecture to be broadcast over the Internet.
“For the past two years we’ve been doing video conferences under their umbrella,” said Beth Reisboard, executive director of the Foundation. “Penn supplies the technology.”
“She devoted her life to messages of hope and caring,” Reisboard said of Klein.
Dan Weisbein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.