interior static banner

Holocaust Survivor Martin Weiss to Share his Story at King University’s Bristol and Knoxville Campuses Feb. 29

BRISTOL, Tenn., Feb. 16, 2016 – Holocaust survivor Martin Weiss, who withstood the Auschwitz-Birkenau and Mauthausen concentration camps, will share his story on Monday, Feb. 29 at King University’s Memorial Chapel in Bristol, Tenn., at 9:15 a.m., and again that evening at 7 p.m., at King’s Hardin Valley campus located at 10950 Spring Bluff Way, Knoxville, Tenn. The event is part of the King University Institute for Faith and Culture’s 2015-16 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 a survivor to speak. “From the first year of the Buechner Institute’s programming, we have partnered with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum,” says Shannon Harris, interim director of King’s Institute for Faith and Culture, “bringing survivors to this area to give their unique testimonies. We value the Museum’s mission to cultivate a sense of moral responsibility among our citizens so they can be positive agents when responding to the world’s deep needs.”

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. “Survivor stories are so important to hear, for they remind us that, in the words of William Faulkner, ‘The past is never dead. It’s not even past.’ In a world racked by continuing violence and threats of genocide, when Holocaust deniers can gain traction on the internet, it is important to be reminded of the realities of history. A history that continues to shape not just survivors, but you, me, this nation, and the world,” states Harris.

Martin Weiss was born in Jan. 1929 in Polana, Czechoslovakia to Orthodox Jewish parents Jacob and Golda Weiss. He was one of nine children. When Nazi Germany and its allies dismantled Czechoslovakia in 1939, Weiss’ life changed dramatically. Two brothers were conscripted into slave labor battalions and sent to the Russian front.

In April 1944, Weiss and his remaining family were transported to the Munkacs Ghetto, then moved to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in May 1944, where Marty, his brother Moshe, his sister Cilia, their father Jacob, and two uncles were selected for slave labor. The rest of their family was killed upon arrival. After a brief stay at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Martin and his father were sent to Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria, where his father would die from exhaustion and starvation. Weiss was liberated in May 5, 1945.

Martin Weiss arrived in New York in 1946, after his sister Ellen, who had immigrated to the United States in 1939, arranged U.S. visas for him, brother Mendl, sister Cilia, and her husband Fred.

Weiss served in the United States Army during the Korean War before entering the grocery business in 1955. In 1957, he married Joan Merlis. They have two children and four grandchildren. He has been volunteering at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum since 1998.

The events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit or contact Dr. Shannon Harris at, 423-652-4836, or 423-747-3524.


King University is a Presbyterian-affiliated, doctoral-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports. For more information about King University, visit King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University is certified by SCHEV to operate locations in Virginia. For more information on SCHEV certification, contact the King University office at Southwest Virginia Community College, 309 College Road, Richlands, VA 24641.