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Holocaust Experts Discuss Middle East

Panel Discussion Open to Campus, Community

Posted: April 12, 2007
The Holocaust and the Middle East panel discussion will be held Tuesday, April 17, 12:00 - 1:00, Buffalo State College, Communications Center room S-2. The program is free and will include refreshments afterwards.

Mr. Joe Diamond, a survivor of Auschwitz Concentration Camp, will lead the discussion. Panelists include Mr. Drew Beiter, a specialist in Holocaust education trained at the US Memorial Holocaust Museum in Washington, and Dr. Drew Kahn, associate professor, Theater, who directed the college's production of "Anne Frank." Dr. Allen Podet, who teaches the Holocaust class at Buffalo State College, will moderate.

Dr. Kahn's production of "Anne Frank" compared the events of the Holocaust to current day happenings, which will be a principal focus of the panel. The discussion will also focus on the modern Middle East.

Mr. Diamond was born in Czechoslovakia in 1929, in a small town of 15-20,000 people. Czechoslovakia was then a democracy, with citizens of many religions living together. His family grew grapes and made wine. In 1939, when World War II began, Czechoslovakia was allied to the US and England. Hungary invaded the country and a Nazi government was installed.

Jews were persecuted and, in 1944, the town's Jews were rounded up and deported to Auschwitz in Poland. At the age of seven, Joe and his mother were sent to a labor camp, where his mother and little brother were murdered. He saw the crematorium smoking day and night. He was selected by the notorious Dr. Mengele for brick-making work "to live, for a while".

Facing death, he once hid in a latrine hole and later mingled with the work group. As the Soviet Army approached the camp, the Nazis forced the remaining prisoners on a death march to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp near Berlin. In 1945 Joe was liberated by the US Third Army and he returned to his home town. Fearing what the Soviet forces might do, and learning that he had relatives in Buffalo, he arrived here in 1948.

Joe has served in the US Army in the Korean War, and eventually returned to his Czech hometown to find the Jewish community totally gone. He and his family live in Buffalo and represent the Greater Buffalo Holocaust Resource Center.

Dr. Podet has been teaching the Holocaust course at Buffalo State for over 20 years, and is the founding Rector of the Abraham Geiger College at Berlin, the first rabbinical seminary in Germany since World War II.

The program is funded by a grant from the Buffalo State College Equity and Campus Diversity Office headed by Dr. Dolores E. Battle, senior adviser to the President. For further information, call Dr. Podet at 634-4287.
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