Annual 'Holocaust, in Remembrance' program set for April 17

Penn State New Kensington will hold its annual "Holocaust, In Remembrance" program from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 17, in the campus conference center. Lois Rubin, associate professor of English, annually arranges for guest speakers in an effort to educate students about the atrocities of the Holocaust. The program is free to the public.

Moshe Baran, a survivor of the Horodok ghetto in Poland, his hometown, and Krasny forced labor camp in Byelorussia, a satellite republic of Russia (now the independent Republic of Balarus). Baran, who escaped Kransy and joined the resistance movement, gives a first-hand account of the atrocities of the Holocaust.

"He will tell his story, giving first-hand accounts of the war, separating from his family, escaping the camp, hiding in the forest, and rescuing his family," said Rubin, who teaches composition and literature courses. "After being liberated, he eventually made his way to the United States."

Born in 1920, Baran was the oldest of four siblings that included a brother and twin sisters. When the Nazis invaded Holodok in 1942, the family was sent to Krasny. Baran, a strapping 22-year-old at the time, was forced to work laying railroad ties. With the help of a friendly guard, he secured a military weapon, dug under the camp fence, and escaped into the forest and swamps near Wileyka-Ilia, Belarussia, to join the resistance movement. For two years, he lived in hiding and took part in sabotage missions such as mining roads and planning ambushes. He arranged for the rescue of his brother, sister and mother, all who survived. His father stayed behind at Krasny to care for one of the twins who was ill. Both perished when the ghetto was destroyed by the Nazis. In 1944 the region was liberated.

After the war ended, Baran made his way to Linz, Austria, met his future wife, Malka Klin, a survivor of Treblinka, and eventually immigrated to New York City in 1954. He began a career in real estate management and had two daughters. Malka had a 35-year career as an early-childhood educator. Upon retirement, the couple moved to Pittsburgh in 1993 to be near a daughter. Malka died in 2007. Moshe lives next door to his sister. His brother lives in Los Angeles. The 92-year-old survivor is active in the Jewish community and serves as president of the Holocaust Survivors of Pittsburgh.

Since 1992, Rubin has brought 21 Holocaust survivors to the New Kensington campus to speak in April, the month of Holocaust Remembrance Day. According to the Pittsburgh native, the recollections by speakers such as Baran remind the world of the lesson of respecting the humanity of those who are different.

"I continue to do the program because I think we still need to be mindful of the terrible consequences of hatred and prejudice," said Rubin, who earned a doctorate degree from Carnegie-Mellon University. "Time is passing, and members of the World War II generation are aging. In a few years, the survivors of the Holocaust will not be around to tell us their stories in person."

Co-sponsored by the Office of Student Affairs, the event usually has a large turnout. Seating is limited and group reservations are recommended. For information or to make a group reservation, call 724-334-6062.

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Last Updated April 05, 2013