Holocaust survivor to speak March 5 at Penn State York

Esther Bauer, a Holocaust survivor, will share her harrowing story and her persistence to stay alive during a presentation Wednesday, March 5, at Penn State York. The program, at 7 p.m. in the Pullo Family Performing Arts Center (The Pullo Center) at the campus, is sponsored by the Penn State York Student Affairs Office and the Diversity Committee. The event is free but tickets are required. Those interested in attending can pick-up tickets at The Pullo Center Box Office. Penn State York students, faculty and staff can obtain tickets at the box office or in the student affairs office.

“The Holocaust had such a profound effect on the world and our history as human beings that it only felt right to bring someone of Esther’s experiences to campus to relive with us the human injustices and horrors that she faced as someone who, at the time, would have been college-aged herself,” said Dan Puccio, associate director of student affairs at Penn State York. “As the years pass, first-hand accounts of the Holocaust and the emotions felt by those who were imprisoned will be lost, and I wanted to give that experience not only the Penn State York community, but to the York community as a whole, said Puccio. “No matter your age, this event will surely touch your heart, enlighten your mind and help Esther in her goal of ensuring that nothing like this ever happens again in our lifetime,” he said.

Bauer was born in Hamburg, Germany, in 1924. Her father, Dr. Alberto Jonas, was the principal of the Jewish Girls School, and her mother, Dr. Marie Anna Jonas, was a medical doctor. Bauer, her mother and father were deported to the Theresienstadt ghetto in Czechoslovakia on July 19, 1942, where they were prisoners. Her father died of meningitis six weeks after arriving at the ghetto.

After two years at the Theresienstadt ghetto, Bauer married her friend, because he had received orders to be sent with many others to the city of Dresden to build a new ghetto. That was, of course, a lie. He and the other men wound up in Auschwitz. After the men left Theresienstadt, their spouses were told they could voluntarily go after their husbands. Bauer followed her husband to Auschwitz where he was later murdered. Her mother was also deported to Auschwitz on Oct. 10, 1944, and was later murdered there.

Bauer was one of the lucky ones and survived. When she was liberated, Bauer vowed to live each day, have fun and be a good human being.  

In this unforgettable and moving lecture, Bauer recounts her experiences as a prisoner during the Holocaust. In addition, she will tell the story of her amazing mother, who was stripped of her ability to practice medicine by the Reich Citizen Law.

Bauer speaks to students as often as she can so that they will learn what happened during the Holocaust and see to it that such an atrocity to human life never again happens. Bauer’s bounding energy and joy for life is infectious, and she will leave audiences filled with respect, awe and appreciation for the indestructibility of the human spirit.

Last Updated January 23, 2014