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Holocaust survivor to speak at Ohio University Southern

A survivor of the Holocaust will speak at Ohio University Southern next week. Irene Zisblatt, who survived the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland during World War II, will speak May 7 in the Mains Rotunda.

Zisblatt has authored an autobiography, “The Fifth Diamond,” and has appeared in several documentaries, She was featured in Steven Spielberg’s Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation documentary called “The Last Days.”

OUS’s newly formed history club is sponsoring the event.

“I think it’s very important for everyone in the community to hear her story,” Sybrina Hodges, club president, said. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for some people.”

Deborah Marinski, club faculty adviser, said it is important for people to know about historical issues that impacted the world.

“Holocaust survivors are aging,” she said. “So we need to hear as much of their stories as we can because eventually they will be gone. I hope people take away an appreciation of history and some of the events that have taken place and understand a bigger world outside of this small area.”

Zisblatt is one of the first speakers the club has brought in. The club, which got its start in the fall of 2009, has about 15 members so far.

“We’ve had a pretty good response so far,” Hodges said. “It’s awesome. I love it. Not a whole lot of people have an interest in history and it’s good to have a place to go and talk about the things that interest you.”

Zisblatt will speak to more than 100 students from Dawson-Bryant and Chesapeake high schools at 10 a.m. that morning. She will speak to the public at 7 p.m. in the Mains Rotunda of Ohio University Southern.