Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Holocaust survivor speaks to area students 

A Holocaust survivor spent her morning addressing area high school students, sharing her story of survival and battles with racism, and the public can hear her message Tuesday evening.

Eva Olsson was born in Szatsmar, Hungary, in 1924, into a Hasidic Jewish family and said she faced a lifelong battle with bigotry, racism and discrimination as a result of her religion, including being put into concentration and labor camps by the Nazis in World War II. More than 800 students from Blair, Cambria and Somerset counties listened to Olsson speak at Penn Highlands Community College's Richland campus Tuesday about the trials and tribulations she faced in her younger years. Olsson shared her holocaust survival story and her time at Auschwitz, the most notorious of the Nazi death camps.

Olsson said her faith in God is what got her through to survive. Following her time in captivity, she didn’t speak about her experiences for almost 50 years, but eventually realized someone had to be a voice to remember those who were murdered and those who have been discriminated against for their religion.

"Someone has to speak for the 1.5 million children whose voices were silenced by hate, [a] hate that silenced their voices," Olsson said. The 90-year-old Olsson now lives with her family in Canada and has traveled to hundreds of locations to share her stories to millions. Olsson's presentation is open to the public Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at PHCC's Richland Campus Auditorium at 101 Community College Way.


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