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Medal of Freedom recipient to share story of survival, hope

November 4, 2011

Gerda Weissman Klein

As a young woman she was separated from her parents as they were scattered into forced labor camps. Her family subsequently perished in the Holocaust. Then she barely survived internment and a 300-mile death march near the war’s end that reduced her to a mere 68 pounds at the time of her rescue. Her life story inspired an Academy Award-winning documentary.

Gerda Weissmann Klein, the woman who lived that remarkable experience, will share her story Tuesday, Nov. 8 at Chapman University. Klein, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Holocaust survivor and founder of Citizenship Counts, will relate her personal story and her message of tolerance as part of the Joyce and Saul Brandman Distinguished Lecture Series hosted by the Rodgers Center for Holocaust Education. The event begins at 7 p.m. in Memorial Hall and will include the screening of the Academy Award-winning documentary that chronicles Klein’s experience, One Survivor Remembers. Admission is free. A book signing will follow the lecture.

Klein is the author of nine books, including her memoir of the Holocaust, All But My Life. The book was the impetus for the Oscar and Emmy Award-Winning HBO documentary. The story of Klein and the young soldier who liberated her and subsequently became her husband has been featured on Oprah and 60 Minutes.

Klein was a recipient of the 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. In May 2001, Chapman University awarded Kurt Klein and Gerda Weissmann Klein an honorary doctorate of humane letters, the only married couple to be so honored by the university.

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