In honor of Yom Ha’Shoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, students in Dr. Sharon Oster’s Spring 2022 English 334 Seminar at the University of Redlands will share their final projects, “Mapping Holocaust Memoirs.” In this collection of GIS Storymaps, each retells a different Holocaust survivor’s story of a forced journey and radically disrupted life, based on the students’ study of Holocaust testimonies from the USC Shoah Foundation Video History Archive.
Cristina Bayne (English Literature, 2022), Chloe Rodriguez (Psychology and English Literature, 2023), Brandley Simms (History and English Literature, 2023)
Eli Benyacar, a Sephardic Jew from Thessaloniki, Greece, grew up surrounded by few indications of antisemitism and had little knowledge of persecutions occurring in other parts of Germany. Thus, his experience in the Holocaust is one that is marked by difference from even other Jewish inmates. The linguistic barriers experienced by Greek Jews necessitated that they organize and cooperate to increase their chance of survival in and out of the camps.
Riley Dean (English Literature), Kenia Gonzalez (English Literature, 2022), Katrina Nielsen (English Literature and History, 2023), Megan Watkins (English Literature, 2023)
Vera Laska joined the Czech Underground in 1938, at the age of 15. In 1943 she was caught and taken to the police. She escaped and was on the Nazis’ most wanted list until they took her mother to Auschwitz, whereupon Vera surrendered. She arrived at Auschwitz on the day they gassed her mother.
Sara Eddy (Creative Writing, 2022), Mia Martel (Liberal Studies and English Literature, 2022), Avery Tax (English and Liberal Studies, 2023)
Stefan Kosinski, a Roman Catholic, was only 17 years old when he was imprisoned, beaten and tortured after his letters to his lover, an Austrian soldier, were discovered by the Gestapo. He was sentenced to five years in prison for demoralizing the German military.
Kendall Bolock (English Literature, 2023), Madeline Kildee (English Literature, 2022), Gemma Lang (Psychology and English, 2024), Cy Mendoza (English Literature, 2022)
Born and raised on the small island of Rhodes, Diana Golden's life changed drastically when the Nazis came to occupy it. Living on the island for the entirety of her early life, she was dead set on staying there until her forced eviction by the Third Reich, at which point she was forced through nearly twenty different locations, ending up all the way in Washington State, never to return to Rhodes again.
Cassandra Gaitan (Psychology, 2022), Olivia Manson (Creative Writing, 2022), Brianna Martinez (English Literature, 2023), Mary-Kate Shary (English Literature, 2022)
Anka Bergman grew up in Czechoslovakia, where she developed strong family values and a love for education. Transported to Theresienstadt in 1941, Anka was forced to leave the life that she had built with her husband. During her stay in Theresienstadt, Anka both conceived and lost a child. She lived in the ghetto and transit camp for three years, becoming pregnant again, until her husband was transported to Auschwitz, and she followed closely behind. Anka's dedication to her family, and her persistence to protect them, makes her testimony profound. However, it is her persistence to be with her husband and have a child regardless of her brutal living conditions that truly proves as a testament of her family values.
Jane Cooper (Creative Writing Fiction and Nonfiction, English Literature, 2023), Alessandra Young (English Literature and Political Science, 2022), Brooke Zamora (Business Administration, 2022)
Through the "Grace of God and many fateful events," David Abrams survives his imprisonment by the Nazi forces. He repeatedly insists that hope and faith are critical to survival, and his testimony never wavers from his claim.