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Holocaust speaker to be in Hancock, Morris


After retiring as a professor from the University of Minnesota Minneapolis in 2001, where he was employed for 50 years as a professor of communication and creativity, Fred Amram has spent most of his time in retirement addressing his history as a Holocaust survivor. He's given lectures to students, military members and government agencies, and published a memoir titled "We're in America Now: A Survivor's Stories," which details his upbringing in Germany and in America.

Amram wrote about witnessing the national wave of violent anti-Jewish attacks known as Kristallnacht and the Gestapo raiding his home; he watched British bombers from his balcony, when Jews were banned from air raid shelters; he saw his father forced into slave labor; and he lost extended family members in the ghettos and concentration camps.

Amram will speak at the Stevens County Historical Society Museum at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 27, and to students at Hancock Schools on Wednesday, Nov. 28, a news release said.

He was 2 when the Nazi Party passed the Nuremberg Laws in 1935, which deprived Jews of their citizenship and prohibited them from marrying or having relations with Germans.

Amram and his parents would endure four more years of anti-Semitism, air raids and repeated Gestapo searches before fleeing their home in Hanover in November 1939. They eventually settled in New York City and were granted American citizenship. (It was less than two months ago when Amram regained his German Citizenship.)

Amram moved from New York City to Minneapolis for graduate school after completing an undergraduate degree at Syracuse University. The University of Minnesota offered Amram a job teaching communication and creativity after he completed his graduate degree there.

"I have been committed to works that help people who don't have equal opportunity, probably at least in part ... because of my own growing up as an outsider," Amram said.

Hancock English teacher, Nicole Schmidt, has arranged for Amram, to visit our area and speak in both Morris and Hancock. Amram has agreed to both host a reading from his novel "We're in America Now: A Survivor's Stories" in Morris and speak at Hancock High School.

On Wednesday, Nov. 28, Amram will speak to the 6-12th grade students at Hancock High School about his experiences growing up during the Holocaust. Amram is an award-winning storyteller who will reflect on some of his experiences growing up in Nazi Germany. Amram will also explore some of the lessons he has learned in life and answer questions the students may have.

Schmidt met Amram this summer when she attended a week-long seminar about the Holocaust and other Genocides at the University of Minnesota Minneapolis. "Mr. Amram's stories were told with such profound insight. The message he stressed to us educators at the seminar was to be an upstander. He encouraged us to stand up for others when there's need and to show compassion for others," Schmidt said in a news release.

The public is invited to attend Amram's We're in America Now: A Survivor's Stories book event on Tuesday, Nov. 27 at the Stevens County Historical Society at 7 p.m. This event is free and sponsored by a grant from The Olga Lengyel Institute for Holocaust Studies and Human Rights (TOLI). Amram will read from his book, answer questions, and his book will be available for purchase and signing at the end of the event.

For more information on Amram , see the website: