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K-State Today

March 29, 2016



'Echoes of the Past' relates the Holocaust through a survivor's eyes

By Karin Westman

Julie Kohner

Educator Julie Kohner returns to K-State to present "Voices of the Generations: Echoes of the Past," a multimedia program that shares experiences of the Holocaust through the life of her family. The event will take place at 4 p.m. Thursday, March 31, in the Hemisphere Room on the fifth floor of Hale Library, and it is open to the public.

Kohner's mother, Hanna Kohner, survived four concentration camps during the Holocaust, while Kohner's father, Walter, escaped by immigrating to the United States. They reunited after the war and finally married. Together, they wrote "Hanna and Walter, A Love Story," which traces their steps from the 1930s in Czechoslovakia to California after World War II.

Using the book, artifacts and an episode of "This Is Your Life," in which her mother was the first survivor to share her story on national television, Kohner reveals the atrocities of the Holocaust in a very personal way.

Kohner has been a Jewish educator for more than 30 years. She has a master's degree in educational counseling, and she has been an invited speaker at community centers, schools and universities across the United States. "Voices of the Generations" originated in a 1990 program she created so that her seventh-grade b'nai mitzvah classes would understand the Holocaust through her mother's eyes.

Thursday's presentation follows Kohner's visit to K-State in 2014 and focuses on her uncle's experiences as well as those of her mother and father.

"We look forward to welcoming Julie Kohner back to Kansas State, so we can gain further insight on the personal stories of Julie's family and discover new ways to share this history with others," said Karin Westman, department head of English.

"Voices of the Generations: Echoes of the Past" is sponsored by the College of Education, the English department, the history department, and the Dow Center for Multicultural and Community Studies at K-State Libraries. Questions about the program can be directed to Karin Westman at 785-532-2171 or english@k-state.edu.

Learn more about "Voices of the Generations" online

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