November 10, 2009

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By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Murray Goldfinger, a Holocaust survivor, will speak about his experiences Monday, Nov. 16, at 7 p.m. in the Forum of the Elaine Langone Center at Bucknell University.

The talk, which is free and open to the public, is part of the University's annual observance of Kristallnacht, the planned attack on Jews that began the Holocaust in 1938. It is sponsored by Campus Jewish Life and Hillel.

Goldfinger, who is the grandfather of a Bucknell student, was born near Krakow, Poland. Forced by the Germans to leave his village, his family hid from the Nazis until 1942, when Goldfinger, then 15 years old, was taken to Roznov, the first of several camps where he worked as a messenger, gardener, carpenter and miner.

Lucky survivor
Goldfinger credits his survival to luck and good-hearted people, including a non-Jewish former schoolmate of his mother who allowed them to live in a small home near their village, a work camp foreman who took a liking to him, and a police chief whose daughter was in love with Goldfinger's brother.

Even Josef Mengele, known as the Angel of Death for his cruel medical experiments on Jewish prisoners, checked on Goldfinger's condition after he was condemned to death for allegedly breaking his shovel. The bullet bounced off his skull and lodged in his shoulder, a wound that later became infected.

Goldfinger's last camp was Buchenwald where, on April 10, 1945, he was taken to the woods to be killed. Luckily, an American plane spotted the impending execution and began shooting at the Nazis. The Nazis hid from American fire among the prisoners before sending them back to camp where they were liberated the next day.

His family was less fortunate. His parents were shot and killed in the woods near their village, and his oldest brother was executed after being falsely accused of ripping up Polish currency. His four sisters died in the gas chambers at Belzec and one sister was last seen in 1941 in the Tarnov ghetto.

To read more about Goldfinger, visit Murray Goldfinger.

'Night of Broken Glass'
Kristallnacht marks the beginning of the Holocaust in Germany when organized gangs of Nazi youth roamed through Jewish neighborhoods on Nov. 9 and 10, 1938, breaking windows of Jewish businesses and homes, burning synagogues and looting.

"As time moves us further away from WWII and the Holocaust, it becomes that much more important to bring survivors to campus to remind us to never forget that horrific time, for not only the Jewish people, but for the world," said Rabbi Serena Fujita, Jewish chaplain at Bucknell.

"The students of Bucknell Hillel have made it their mission to educate both the campus community and the greater Lewisburg community about the Holocaust and its impact on real individuals like Murray Goldfinger."

Contact: Division of Communications