The Daily Tar Heel

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Friday December 9th

Holocaust Survivor Chronicles Life

A Holocaust survivor enraptured a near-capacity crowd in Hamilton Hall on Tuesday night as she spoke about her experiences as a member of a Soviet anti-Nazi partisan organization.

Speaker Faye Schulman narrated a slide show that contained photos from her life with the group and the tragedies that she suffered during World War II.

The talk was co-sponsored by the Center for European Studies, the curriculum in peace, war and defense, the University Center for International Studies, the Center for Slavic Eastern European and Eurasian Studies, and the Department of History.

Schulman began by describing her life before the war began. "Life in my town was exactly the same as life today."

As the war continued, the Nazis invaded Lenin, a town in the Soviet Union where the teenage Schulman and her family lived. "The Nazis loved to have fun," Schulman told the crowd. She went on to describe their "sense of humor," including incidents in which the soldiers would tear a child apart limb by limb.

Schulman said she occupied herself during these horrific times by taking photographs of the scenes around her. "I was a photographer since I was a child - it was always in me."

Soon afterward, the town of Lenin was destroyed and all its residents murdered. The non-Jews were burned to death, and the Jews were murdered and buried in three trenches.

Schulman escaped to the woods, where she was accepted by a group of anti-Nazi partisans. "They thought I knew how to be a doctor, and so they let me stay with them," she said.

The anti-Nazis attacked Nazi groups, blew up trains containing Nazis and burned homes the Nazis occupied.

Schulman even burned down her own home to save it from the Nazis after her parents were killed. "I did not want the Nazis to live there," she said.

After three years, Schulman was liberated and moved to Russia. But she and her husband felt so guilty for living comfortably compared to other Russians that they eventually moved to Canada, where they now reside.

"I still practice Judaism in respect for my parents and my heritage," Schulman said. "There is no reason to be ashamed of being Jewish - the Holocaust and the war only proved what kind of people we are and where we have been."

Senior Priya Gupta explained why she found the speech so interesting. "These people from the Holocaust won't be around much longer, and it's so much more interesting to hear the events in person than to read about it."

The University Editor can be reached at udesk@unc.edu.


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