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Monday, March 12, 2018

Holocaust Survivor Addresses Students, Community Members

More than 2,200 people listened to Holocaust survivor Peter Gorog speak March 6 and 7 about his experiences as a young Jewish boy in Hungary during World War II. The two presentations were part of the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton’s 10th annual Holocaust Survivor Series event— a yearly public lecture in cooperation with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) in Washington, D.C.

The first lecture, an evening event in UACCM’s Fine Arts Auditorium on March 6, was also attended by World War II veteran and American Liberator Beryl Wolfson, 95, of Lamar. Wolfson served in the 12th Armored Task Force, 21st American Corps, 935th Field Artillery Battalion and his major engagements were in North Africa, Italy, and Germany — most notably at the Dachau concentration camp. He and his wife, Esther, have attended the Holocaust Survivor Series event for the last five years.

Gorog (right) sits with Wolfson in the audience following his presentation in UACCM’s Fine Arts Auditorium on March 6. 

The next morning, nearly 2,000 students from 20 schools across UACCM’s six-county service area listened to Gorog speak in the brand-new Devil Dog Arena at Morrilton High School. Students ranging from fourth- to 12th-graders filled the arena and had the opportunity to ask Gorog questions about his life, both as a child fleeing from the Nazis and as an adult. Now retired, he has worked on various NASA projects such as the Hubble and James Webb telescopes since defecting to the U.S. in 1980.

Gorog (middle) speaks to nearly 2,000 students from 20 schools inside a packed Devil Dog Arena at Morrilton High School on March 7. 

The events were funded by a Giving Tree Grant from the Conway County Community Foundation. UACCM also partners with the University of Central Arkansas in Conway to bring the survivors to central Arkansas, sharing the cost of travel expenses for the survivor and a travel companion from the USHMM Office of Survivor Affairs. The survivors do not charge a speaking fee, and they donate thousands of hours of service annually to the Museum by doing speaking engagements across the country, providing tours and lectures at the Museum and participation in other related events.

For more photos of these events, click here

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