Plymouth State University Hosts Eyewitness to WWII Death Camp

April 26th, 2007 by Adam

PLYMOUTH, N.H. — Not many names or places stir emotion in people throughout the world like Auschwitz, the WWII Nazi death camp in southern Poland.

Philip Riteman, an Auschwitz survivor who kept his harrowing experiences as an imprisoned teenager in the Nazi camp quiet until 1989, will give a personal account of the mind-numbing saga he endured during one of the most socially destructive times in world history. Riteman relives the horror of these events daily not only in his mind, but visually as well after having had the number 98706 tattooed on his arm by members of Adolf Hitler’s brigade.

Riteman, who is on a speaking tour throughout New England, will visit PSU on Tuesday, May 1, at 7 p.m. in Boyd Science Center room 144. This event is free and open to the public.

“Philip Riteman is an important person to listen to because he was an eyewitness to a significant history that must not be forgotten,” said PSU Associate Professor of History Dr. John Krueckeberg. “In a day when people deny the existence of the Holocaust based on theories, it is important to hear someone who was there and who carries around a number tattooed on his arm as evidence that it really happened.”

There is no true count to the number of people sentenced to death at the largest extermination camp, but some say at least 1.1 million (to as many as three million of the approximately nine to 11 million victims of Hitler’s attempt to eliminate the Jewish population and several other groups in eastern Europe) perished on the camp’s massive grounds.

“This event gives us the chance to be part of humanity’s history as we grapple with the truth that an individual like Riteman represents,” remarked Krueckeberg.

For more information on this release, contact Kevin D. Anderson at kdanderson@plymouth.edu or at (603)-535-2211.

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