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King University News :: Holocaust Survivor Alfred Münzer to Speak at King University’s Bristol & Knoxville Campuses March 31

BRISTOL, Tenn. – Holocaust survivor Alfred Münzer will speak at King University’s Memorial Chapel in Bristol, Tenn., at 9:15 a.m., and again at King’s Hardin Valley campus in Knoxville, Tenn., at 7 p.m., on Monday, March 31. The event is part of the Buechner (Beek-ner) Institute’s 2013-14 Lecture Series and is co-sponsored by the Bristol Herald Courier.

“Each year King University joins with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in honoring and remembering the victims of the Holocaust by inviting one of the survivors to speak on several of our campuses,” said Dr. Errol Rohr, interim chaplain, emeritus professor of Philosophy, and director of King’s Italy Study Program. “This long standing program seeks to promote the cause of human dignity around the world and educate present and future generations in the agendas of peace. This year’s speaker, Mr. Alfred Munzer, is a survivor of the Holocaust whose sisters were killed in Auschwitz and whose father died shortly after being liberated from one of the Nazi death camps. Alfred and his mother immigrated to the United States in 1958.”

Alfred Münzer was born in The Hague, Netherlands on Nov. 23, 1941 to father Simcha, owner of a tailoring business, and mother Gisele, who remained at home to look after Alfred and his two older sisters, Eva and Leah.

In 1942, Alfred’s father was ordered to report to a German labor camp, but managed to evade the order by checking himself into the hospital for surgery. By September that year, it became apparent the entire family would need to go into hiding.

A decision was made to split the family up – both parents hid in a psychiatric ward, with the father as a patient and mother as a nursing assistant. Alfred’s sisters were hidden with friends of a neighbor, but in early 1944, the woman’s husband denounced her and the girls and they were summarily arrested and sent to the Westerbork, a transit camp where Dutch Jews were sent prior to being deported to an extermination camp. On Feb. 8, 1944, Eva and Leah were sent to Auschwitz where they were killed three days later.

Alfred was sent to a stay with a family friend, who then sent him to live with the friend’s sister. The sister became so nervous on hiding Alfred that she sent him to live with her ex-husband, Tolé, and his family who were Indonesian-Dutch. Despite his blue-eyes and blond hair, Alfred stayed well-hidden for more than three years.

Simcha, who had been separated from Alfred’s mother, Gisele, and sent to Mauthausen and Ebensee where he was liberated, went to a convent to receive medical treatment. Simcha died only two months after being freed.

Upon capture, his mother had been marched to a series of camps including Vught, Auschwitz, and Ravensbrück before being evacuated by the Swedish Red Cross and repatriated to Holland in 1945. At four-years of age, Alfred was reunited with his mother, although he had no real memory of her. In 1952, Alfred and his mother moved to Belgium before immigrating to the United States in 1958.

Today, Alfred is president of the medical staff at Washington Adventist Hospital in Takoma Park, Md. He is board certified in internal medicine and pulmonary disease medicine.

Alfred Münzer will share his experiences as a Holocaust survivor on March 31 at 9:15 a.m. in King’s Memorial Chapel on the Bristol campus and at 7 p.m. at King’s Hardin Valley campus in Knoxville. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Dale Brown, director of the Buechner Institute, at 423.652.4156 or visit www.buechnerinstitute.org.

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