St. Paul author and Holocaust survivor to read from her new book Oct. 6

St. Paul author and Holocaust survivor to read from her new book Oct. 6

St. Paul author Felicia Karo Weingarten, who survived four Nazi concentration camps during World War II, will read from her new book, Ave Maria in Auschwitz: The True Story of a Jewish Girl From Poland (DeForest Press, July 2005), at noon Thursday, Oct. 6, in 3M Auditorium of Owens Science Hall at the University of St. Thomas.

The reading, free and open to the public, is sponsored by the St. Thomas History Department and the UST History Club.

Weingarten also will read and discuss the book at 11:15 a.m. Monday, Oct. 31, in Alumnae Hall of Haehn Campus Center at the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph. Her presentation there is co-sponsored by the Jay Phillips Center for Jewish-Christian Learning and the Theology Department at St. Benedict and St. John’s University.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II and the liberation of the camps, where millions of imprisoned Jews were killed or died from starvation or disease as a part of Hitler’s “Final Solution.”

Weingarten was a teenager in 1939 when the Nazis walled Jews into a ghetto in her hometown of Lodz, Poland. She later was sent to four concentration camps, including Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, from which she was rescued in 1945. When the camp was liberated, she was nearly dead and weighed only 65 pounds.

After the war she married Auschwitz survivor Leon Weingarten; the couple moved to St. Paul in 1950 and had two children. She has spoken on Jewish culture and on the historical, psychological and political factors of the Holocaust for more than 30 years. The author of three books and numerous articles, she has been a consultant for the University of Minnesota and has an honorary doctorate from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Ave Maria in Auschwitz is a collection of Weingarten’s short stories from her World War II experiences in Lodz and the concentration camps. Her stories also challenge readers to be people of integrity, hope and commitment. The book is titled after of one of its stories, in which a female S.S. commandant demands that a prisoner, a young woman in her 20s, sing for her. The young woman chooses “Ave Maria.”

“I talk about this so people will understand and remember,” Weingarten said. “We are all capable of good and evil, and I hope most of us choose to be good, not to be cruel to people because they are different.”

For more information about Weingarten’s reading at St. Thomas, call the History Department, (651) 962-5730.