On 29 November 2018, more than 60 students and guests attended a talk with Auschwitz-survivor Stanisław Zalewski from Warsaw. The 94-year-old Zalewski was arrested by Gestapo in Warsaw in 1943 and, after torture in the Pawiak prison, deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. After one month at this extermination camp he was transported first to Mauthausen and later to Gusen concentration camps in Austria where he had to carry out forced labour for the SS.
The talk in cooperation with the Polish “Patria Nostra” foundation was opened by the ambassador of the Republic of Poland, Prof. Dr. Andrzej Przyłębski, and hosted by Touro’s Prof. Dr. Stephan Lehnstaedt. Zalewski spoke in Polish, with simultaneous translation into German being provided. The survivor’s testimony of his persecution and eventual liberation was quite impressive: After almost two hours of speaking and answering questions, he was still willing to engange in one-on-one Q&A with some of Touro’s students.
The event was part of Touro’s commitment to the remembrance and communication of the Holocaust – and to information and education about crimes against other nations and groups during WW2. Thus, we support Zalewski’s call that speaking of “Polish concentration camps” (referring to Nazi-German camps in occupied Poland) is historically false and insulting.
Media coverage (in Polish):