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College to observe Dr. Talbot Spivak Holocaust Memorial Week

March 14, 2014
Lehigh Acres Citizen

Special to The Breeze

Edison State College, Lee Campus, will observe the Dr. Talbot Spivak Holocaust Memorial Week on Monday, March 17, through Friday, March 21. The program, now in its 18th year, is named in memory of the late Edison Professor Dr. Talbot Spivak, whose determination to teach the lessons of the Holocaust both inside and outside the classroom led him to create this week-long program with college-wide support in 1996.

Dr. Spivak retired after 21 years of dedicated service to the college in 2006.

This year's theme, "LIFE," was selected because this is the 18th year that Edison State College has held this event. The number 18 symbolizes life or chai in the Jewish tradition. The Holocaust Memorial Week will offer programs that give the local community an opportunity to listen to, interact with, and learn from local Holocaust survivors, as well as children of survivors.

Survivors will share their personal Holocaust experiences in individual sessions and in round table discussions, during which a survivor shares his or her personal story with a small group of attendees in an intimate setting. GenShoah, a committee of children and grandchildren of survivors dedicated to Holocaust education and preservation of memories of the Holocaust will conduct a similar "Lunch and Learn" for students and the community.

"We must continue to educate our students and the community about The Holocaust, and other similar acts against humanity. We strive to raise understanding about the Holocaust and why it is still relevant to today's world," said Cindy M. Campbell, Faculty Librarian, Edison State College. "We hope that members in our surrounding community are able to attend many of the events and activities that will take place during the Holocaust Memorial Week."

Additionally during the week's events, presenters such as Myra Roberts, Ella Nayor and Robert Hilliard will be on hand offering activities to highlight the occurrences during the Holocaust.

An internationally-known Sanibel artist, Roberts' latest works tell a backstory to illustrate the people, places and thinking that led to the Holocaust. Her original oil paintings are in collections across the United States and Europe. She will discuss how she created these pieces, and how she advocates for truth in history so that horrible situations like the Holocaust are not repeated. Her newest exhibition, which features a full series of collages about the anti-Semitism and propaganda that lead to the holocaust and all genocides, will be on exhibit at the Holocaust Museum of Southwest Florida through March 23.

Nayor is an award-winning Fort Myers journalist who focuses on human-interest features and socially conscious pieces. For the past several years, Nayor has been pursuing Project Tolerance with artist Myra Roberts. For their work she authored "Faces of Tolerance: Everyone Counts," which has taken her into the lives of people from all walks of life. During this personal journey, she spent time with Holocaust survivors, religious leaders and people who are often marginalized in society.

Hilliard has been a presenter at the Dr. Talbot Spivak Holocaust Memorial Week a number of times over the years, principally in connection with the documentary "Displaced: Miracle at St. Ottilien," which is about his and another GI's work in helping save possibly thousands of concentration survivors at the end of World War II in Europe.

He has also authored a memoir, "Surviving the Americans: The Continued Struggle of the Jews After Liberation" outlining his personal experiences.

To see the full schedule of events, visit

For more information about the events, please call or email Cindy Campbell at (239) 489-9367 or

Celebrating over 50 years of excellence, Edison State College is Southwest Florida's largest, most accessible and ranked nationally as one of the most affordable institutions of higher education.

For additional information about the college, please



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