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Title:Thomas 'Toivi' Blatt - "Escape from Sobibor"

Thomas "Toivi" Blatt will discuss his experiences during World War II. Blatt endured many hardships during these years, particularly at Sobibor, an extermination camp where perhaps 250,000 Jews were gassed. But he also participated in the uprising and escape of October 1943, an event that, aside from the Warsaw Ghetto Rising of April-May 1943, is the best-known act of defiance by the Jews during the Holocaust. Blatt was one of about 300 prisoners to escape from Sobibor; only about fifty survived the war, and only seven are known still to be alive. Over the past thirty years, Blatt has become established as the main source of information on the escape and he has published two noteworthy books about it, Sobibor: The Forgotten Revolt (a history of the camp) and From the Ashes of Sobibor (a memoir, but also a study of his time in Sobibor and the escape). At Oregon State University, we have observed Holocaust Memorial Week every year since 1987. The breadth and the duration of our effort are unmatched in the Pacific Northwest. This program grows from the belief that educational institutions can do much to combat prejudice of all kinds, and to foster respect for the diversity that is America, by promoting an awareness of the Holocaust, perhaps the most horrific historical indicator of the high cost of prejudice. It is particularly important to teach young people about the Holocaust, so that coming generations will not forget the lessons that a preceding one learned at such cost. This emphasis recalls the motto of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum: "For the dead and the living, we must bear witness." To learn more about the Holocaust Memorial Program at Oregon State University, please visit oregonstate.edu/holocaust/


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