Susan Cernyak-Spatz, a Professor Emerita of German Literature at UNC Charlotte, was born in Vienna in 1922 and moved with her family to Berlin in 1929 where they witnessed Hitler’s rise to power. As she has commented in her recent public lectures, in present-day America she sees certain developments that are alarmingly reminiscent of the bigotry and fear-mongering, right-wing nationalism and populism, and hate-filled mobs and rhetoric of the Berlin and Vienna in her youth.
Susan's family fled to Prague in March 1938. Her father managed to escape to Belgium, but the Nazis arrested and eventually deported Cernyak-Spatz and her mother. She survived Auschwitz-Birkenau and the women’s concentration camp of Ravensbrück. Her mother died in the Theresienstadt ghetto.
In July 1946, Cernyak-Spatz emigrated to the United States. She completed a dissertation on German Holocaust literature in 1971. In 2005, Cernyak-Spatz published her memoirs, copies of which will be available at the talk.
After a screening of audio-visual testimonies she has given over the years, Cernyak-Spatz, now 96 years of age, will answer questions from the audience.
The program is free of charge and open to the public.