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NCCU Top Story: Holocaust Survivor to Share Story on Campus Oct. 15

Holocaust survivor Esther Lederman to visit NCCU

Published: Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Esther Lederman, a Holocaust survivor who spent almost two years hiding from the Nazis in a Polish farmhouse, will speak at North Carolina Central University on Oct. 15 in conjunction with a literature course on survival and healing.

This event is sponsored by a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant won by two NCCU professors and the Center for Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Education of North Carolina.

Born in 1924, Lederman grew up in Lodz, the second largest city in Poland, in a Jewish family that included her parents and sister. She narrowly escaped the 1938-45 genocide of six million Eastern European Jews and five million non-Jews – including those identified as Catholic, gay or lesbian, political dissidents, as well as people of African descent, among others. Her father survived, but her sister and mother were killed in a death camp.

The presentation is a University College Student Engagement Session and is free and open to the public. It takes place at 10:40 a.m. Oct. 15 at B.N. Duke Auditorium.

Lederman’s appearance is sponsored by the Department of Language and Literature ENG 3400 course “On Survival and Healing” taught by professors Camille Passalacqua, Ph.D., and Rachelle Gold, Ph.D., who won the NEH grant in 2014. The class examines narratives of traumatic experiences, such as slavery, exile, torture, genocide, and war, and how literature and art often emerge from such conditions as a vision of hope and resilience. The course will be taught again in spring 2016.

Lederman survived the Holocaust by hiding with another family in a 10-by-10 foot attic in a rural area of Poland. They were freed in August 1943, when Soviet soldiers liberated the region. Lederman was reunited with her father two years later. Esther and her husband, Ezjel Lederman, who also hid to evade Nazi extermination, immigrated to the United States in 1949. She now lives in Chapel Hill.

A documentary based her experiences, “Hiding for Our Lives: Esther Lederman’s Story,” will be shown during the presentation. The film was produced by the Center for Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Education of NC. Lederman is a member of North Carolina’s Holocaust Speakers Bureau. Hear Lederman's story in her own words by viewing the documentary at:

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