Tracking down Irene Weisberg Zisblatt was easier than it might sound.
Although, to be fair, Penn State junior Jamie Butler did have something of a running start.
She was in middle school the first time she encountered Zisblatt, a survivor of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp who had been asked to share a firsthand account of one of the biggest atrocities in human history.
How do we educate ourselves about history so it doesn’t repeat itself?
Butler was touched by the experience — and is more than a little concerned that it will soon be impossible to replicate as Holocaust survivors continue to succumb to old age.
“How do we educate ourselves about history so it doesn’t repeat itself?” Butler said.
Sometimes the past can seem very far away — and sometimes it just needs to catch the next flight out of Florida.
Zisblatt will share her story at 7:30 p.m. on April 4 at Penn State’s Eisenhower Auditorium, giving her the honor of being the third Holocaust survivor that Butler has brought to campus since arriving at Penn State.
Each has offered a uniquely human perspective on a subject that many learn about through history books. Zisblatt, who was subjected to the experiments of Dr. Josef Mengele, promises to be no different.
When I heard her story is when I got connected to the Holocaust.
“When I heard her story is when I got connected to the Holocaust,” Butler said.
Zisblatt’s talk in Eisenhower is free and open to the public, with tickets available at the auditorium’s box office.
On April 5, sophomores at State College Area High School will have their own private audience with Zisblatt, whose stories will bolster their own ongoing education about the Holocaust.
Butler is hopeful that students and the community at large gain a better understanding about how history ties into the future as much as the past.
“I really want them to walk way with a better understanding of what their life looks like right now,” Butler said.