Press/Journalists

Press Release
April 26, 2013

National Archives Welcomes Gerda Weissmann Klein Thursday, May 9

Special event commemorates Jewish American Heritage Month

Washington, DC…On Thursday, May 9, at 7 PM, the National Archives commemorates Jewish American Heritage month with a special program featuring Gerda Weissmann Klein, celebrated author, human rights advocate, Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, and Holocaust survivor. A Conversation with Gerda Weissmann Klein is free and open to the public and will take place in the William G. McGowan Theater of the National Archives Building in Washington, DC. Attendees should use the Special Events Entrance, located on the National Mall at Constitution Ave. and 7th Street, NW.

Gerda Weissmann Klein captivates audiences worldwide with her powerful message of hope, inspiration, love, and humanity. Following a screening of the Academy Award–winning HBO documentary of her life, One Survivor Remembers (40 min.), Charles C. Haynes, Director of the Newseum's Religious Freedom Education Project, and Mrs. Klein will discuss her incredible life and her ongoing humanitarian work. A book signing of her autobiography All But My Life: A Memoir will follow the program. This event is presented in partnership with Citizenship Counts, the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington and the Newseum's Religious Freedom Education Project.

Gerda Weissmann was born May 8, 1924 in Bielsko, Poland. In 1939, her life changed forever when German troops invaded her hometown. After being separated from her brother shortly after the invasion and from her parents in 1942, she worked in slave labor and concentration camps until she was forced to walk in a 350-mile death march. When World War II ended she was left homeless and without family or friends. Despite all that was lost, she never lost the will to live. She found a fairy-tale ending when she married her liberator, U.S. Army Intelligence officer, Kurt Klein. Two years after she immigrated to the United States as Kurt's wife, Gerda became an American citizen. In her speeches and books, she draws from her wealth of life experiences – from surviving the Holocaust to her journey to the United States where she raised her family and has fought to promote tolerance and combat hunger.

Upcoming exhibit:Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage
October 11, 2013 – January 5, 2014, Lawrence F. O'Brien Gallery
In 2003, Coalition forces in Iraq discovered a cache of water-soaked books and documents in the basement of Saddam Hussein's intelligence headquarters in Baghdad. This cache included thousands of books and documents relating to the Jewish community of Iraq. The National Archives was asked to provide advice on how to rescue this important group of materials, and over the past years intensive efforts have been involved in the preservation of these important books and documents.

The exhibition tells the story of these materials and how they are being preserved and made accessible worldwide. The exhibit includes 24 of these original documents and books, and an audio-visual presentation on the preservation of the material. Discovery and Recovery: Preserving Iraqi Jewish Heritage is free and open to the public.

The National Archives is fully accessible. To verify the date and times of the programs, call 202-357-5000, or view the Calendar of Events online.

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For press information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at 202-357-5300.

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