Coe College hosts Holocaust survivor Irene Furst

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
(319) 399-8605 or

2009-04-09 10:57:15 - General

Holocaust survivor Irene Furst will speak about her World War II era experiences at Coe College on Wednesday, April 22, at 7:30 p.m. in Kesler Lecture Hall of Hickok Hall. Furst will be accompanied by her daughter, Linda Hurwitz, former director of the Holocaust Center of the United Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh. The event is open to the public at no charge.

Furst was born on Oct. 1, 1921, and grew up on Lodz, Poland. In the presentation she will give an overview of the life she experienced before the war in a comfortable upper middle class family where she had grandparents, great-grandparents and many aunts, uncles and cousins. Furst was an excellent student and finished high school and began college before World War II broke out and destroyed her wonderful life and most of the people she knew.

The Holocaust survivor will share the sequence of events in the ghettoization of her city and briefly capture the existence where she struggled to survive against the starvation and disease created by conditions imposed by the German Nazis. Furst lived under this occupation for four years until she, her father and her sister were transported to the Auschwitz concentration/death camp. After five days, where she was subjected to the humiliation and uncertainty of the selection process, Furst and her sister were sent to the Stutthof Concentration Camp. Finally, Furst will recall the last days of the war and the liberation by the British in May 1945.

Furst came to America with her husband, Gilbert, a survivor of Riga, Latvia, in 1947, and they settled in Baltimore and raised three children. She now resides in Pittsburgh, near her daughter Linda Hurwitz.

This event is sponsored by the Joan and David Thaler Holocaust Memorial Foundation. For more information, call 399-8581.