News

Holocaust Survivor Hedy Brasch Speaks to SPC Students

Jersey City, N.J. – On Wednesday, September 30, 2009, holocaust survivor Ms. Hedy Brasch spoke to Saint Peter’s College first year students as part of the College’s Freshman Common Reading Program. Taking place at 12:00 p.m. in the Yanitelli Recreational Life Center (RLC) on the College’s Jersey City campus, the students had the opportunity to hear Hedy’s personal account of surviving the Holocaust.

Hedy was born in Miskolc, Hungary in 1930, where she studied music, dance and theater as a child, and starred in moviehouse commercials and advertisements. When Hedy was 12 years old, her father was captured by Nazis and taken to a labor camp. As the conditions in Hungary worsened, Hedy, her sister, Eva, and mother were later deported to Auschwitz, the largest concentration camp in Germany during World War II.

A few months after their capture, Hedy and Eva were selected to work in Bremen, Germany where their labor responsibilities included street cleaning and detonating bombs. Later, the two sisters were forced to march to the Nazi concentration camp Bergen-Belsen, where they both contracted typhus and typhoid fever.

After being liberated from Bergen-Belsen in by Great Britain 1945, Hedy and Eva traveled to the United States to live with their grandmother. Six years later, they were reunited with their mother. A retired occupational therapist, Hedy currently lives in Springfield, New Jersey.

This year, as part of the Freshman Common Reading Program, students were required to read Night, a memoir by Nobel Prize Winner Elie Weisel, which describes his experiences during the Holocaust and his imprisonment in several concentration camps.

The purpose of the Common Reading Program is to help foster a sense of community among first year students, promote shared values and create a sense of academic rigor. Designed to enhance classroom-learning experiences with co-curricular activities, the program also helps to improve the skills of Saint Peter’s students, including critical thinking, analytical reasoning and creativity, as well as written and oral communication.

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Saint Peter’s College is the Jesuit College of New Jersey. Founded in 1872, Saint Peter’s has an enrollment of approximately 3,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs. The main campus is located in Jersey City with a branch campus in Englewood Cliffs, NJ, with courses at various corporate sites at the Jersey City waterfront and in South Amboy, NJ.