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Carleton Invites Community to its Annual Holocaust Remembrance Service and Vigil

April 2, 2013

Carleton College will observe Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, with a vigil and service on Sunday, April 7, beginning at 4:30 p.m. in Skinner Memorial Chapel. As part of the event, Holocaust survivor Gerry Franks will speak about his experiences under Nazi rule, and Carleton associate chaplain Rabbi Shosh Dworsky will lead the service, which begins at 5 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.

Gerry Franks was born in Berlin, Germany in 1921. He recalls Hitler coming into power in 1933, and he lived as a teenager under Nazi rule. Frank experienced firsthand the 1938 Kristallnacht pogrom before emigrating to Chicago in 1939.

During WWII, Frank joined the U.S. Army, and because of his language skills was assigned as a translator to SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Forces) headed by General D. Eisenhower. He served first in London, and later in France and Germany. Frank translated many of the US occupation laws into German, and served as head of a research team in Germany, interviewing highly placed German civil servants and compiling evidence for use in the Nuremberg trials.

After his discharge, Frank came back to Chicago where he assisted in the resettlement of German Jewish refugees.  He helped found a residence for survivors, The Selfhelp Home, which today accommodates 150 seniors. Frank is featured in a new documentary film, "Refuge," which covers the history of several residents of The Selfhelp Home.

Frank has been a member of the American Jewish Committee for many years, serving as a V.P. of the Chicago organization and currently serving on the national Board of Governors. He is co-chair of “German Jewish Dialogue,” a joint effort of the German Consulate General and the AJC in Chicago. The group promotes good will while discussing problems of interest to its German as well as Jewish members.

This event is sponsored by the Carleton College Office of the Chaplain. For more information, including disability accommodations, contact jtraux@carleton.edu. Skinner Memorial Chapel is located on First Street, between College and Winona Streets, in Northfield.