For Immediate Release

Contact:Deborah Gilleran

Living in Grace: GCU to Host Holocaust Survivor and Author Fred Spiegel

Lakewood, N.J., Sept. 5, 2007—Georgian Court University will host Fred Spiegel, Holocaust survivor and author of Once the Acacias Bloomed: Memories of a Childhood Lost, on Tuesday, September 25, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. at the Little Theatre on GCU’s Lakewood campus. Mr. Spiegel will discuss his book and the Holocaust from his firsthand experiences as a child imprisoned in German concentration camps.  

Referred to as an extraordinary tale of one man’s indomitable drive to live, and to live in grace despite what happened to him, Mr. Spiegel’s book is a painful and moving tale of the realities of the Holocaust from an adolescent point of view.

Born in Dinslaken, Germany, in 1932, Mr. Spiegel was sent as a young boy to live with relatives in Holland after Kristallnacht, the “Night of Broken Glass”—the November 1938 night when the Nazis destroyed Jewish homes, shops, and villages in Germany and Austria. Many Jews were beaten to death, and thousands were taken to concentration camps signifying for many the beginning of the Holocaust.

When the Germans later invaded Holland, Mr. Spiegel was sent to Vught, Westerbork and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps. On April 13, 1945, he was liberated by the Americans and later reunited with his mother and sister.

G. Jan Colijn, Ph.D., wrote in a summary of Mr. Spiegel’s book, “Fred Spiegel’s recollections are, in essence, quite different. When the war surrounded him, he was a child and, on occasion, he tells us about his fright—it will chill your bones. But, more often than not, Fred’s recollections are a reportage on what is happening not in him, not in his heart and soul, but around him. For someone to be so free of self-absorption is remarkable; for the memories of an interrupted childhood it is astonishing, and I believe rather unique. The beauty of Fred’s recollection is in the power of his straight, unadorned eyewitness reporting.

“Fred’s eye witnessing is different [than other reports]. After you read this book, you do not feel hopeless. He is not a prisoner of hatred against those who planned and engineered the Holocaust against him and his people, as understandable as such hatred would be.”

A reception will be held immediately following the lecture. The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are required by e-mailing For more information, please call the Office of Alumni Relations at 732.987.2232.

Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is a comprehensive university with a strong liberal arts core and a special concern for women. A forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, Georgian Court serves over 3,000 students of all faiths and backgrounds in a residential Women's College and a coeducational University College with undergraduate and graduate programs. Georgian Court's main campus is located at 900 Lakewood Avenue, Lakewood, N.J., on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, now named a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court also offers classes at its site at 90 Woodbridge Center Drive in Woodbridge and at Coastal Communiversity in Wall and Cumberland County College in Vineland.

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