Susan Cernyak-Spatz, professor emerita of German literature at UNC Charlotte, was born in Vienna and in 1929 moved with her family to Berlin where they witnessed Hitler’s rise to power. Her 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. Cernyak-Spatz will speak as both a survivor and as a teacher and academic whose professional career was closely related to the horrors she experienced.