Irene Fogel Weiss – Holocaust Survivor Virtual Talk

University of South Carolina Union will host Holocaust survivor, Irene Fogel Weiss, in a virtual talk for faculty, staff, and students on January 31 in the Whitener Building.

USC Union’s instructor of Spanish, Italian, and French, Professor Kevin Torres, has been instrumental by bringing this educational talk to campus. Professor Torres says, “January 27th was International Holocaust Remembrance Day. This date also marked the 77th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. With the upcoming study abroad and course that I will teach, students will learn about the Holocaust in depth and will have the opportunity to see Auschwitz with their own eyes. However, before the commencement of the course and study abroad, I wanted students, faculty, and staff to have the opportunity to listen to a Holocaust survivor describe and talk about their experiences in their own words. To have the immense opportunity of being able to listen to Holocaust survivor Irene Fogel Weiss talk and describe in her own words about her experiences during the Holocaust is indescribable. I hope that those who take this opportunity reflect on her words and continue educating themselves about the Holocaust and share what they learn with others so that they too will be educated about the Holocaust. We must never forget. #WeRemember”

The United States Holocaust Memorial, located in Washington DC, is a “living” memorial to the Holocaust and educates people about the dangers of hatred and the need to prevent genocide.

Irene Weiss’s was born Iren Fogel on November 21, 1930, in Bótrágy, Czechoslovakia (now Batrad’, Ukraine) to Meyer and Leah Fogel. Meyer owned a lumber yard, and Leah managed their home and cared for Irene and her five siblings—Moshe, Edit, Reuven, Gershon, and Serena.

When Nazi Germany dismembered Czechoslovakia in 1939, Bótrágy, located in Subcarpathian Rus, came under Hungarian rule. Hungarian authorities banned Jews from attending school, confiscated Jewish businesses, and required thousands of Jewish men to be inducted into Hungarian forced labor brigades under military command. Among them was Irene’s father, Meyer, who was conscripted in 1942.

Beginning in May 1944, nearly 425,000 Jews were deported from Hungary to Auschwitz-Birkenau, including Irene and her family. Irene was 13 years old. Upon arrival at the camp, her mother, three younger siblings, and older brother were killed.

Irene married Martin Weiss in 1949 and they moved to northern Virginia in 1953. She earned a bachelor of arts degree in education from American University and taught in the Fairfax County Public School system in Virginia for 13 years. Irene and Martin have three children and Irene is a volunteer at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Biography retrieved from: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

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