Holocaust survivor to visit campus
April 7, 2015
Holocaust survivor Mitchell Winthrop will visit Harper College to discuss his harrowing experience and inspirational story of survival as part of the One Book, One Harper community reading initiative.
Winthrop’s appearance will take place from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 14, in the Drama Lab Theatre, Building L, Room L109, on Harper’s main campus, 1200 W. Algonquin Road in Palatine.
Winthrop was born Mietek Weintraub in November 1926 in Lodz, Poland. The Lodz ghetto
was formed and soon sealed in early 1940 when he was 13 years old. Winthrop worked
as a carpenter in the ghetto and in an electrical plant. Although schools were forbidden,
he and other teenagers were able to take clandestine classes, studying math and sciences
such as metallurgy. He remained in the ghetto until it was finally closed and the
surviving Jews sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau in August 1944. Winthrop was liberated by
the U.S. Army at Mauthausen and remained in a displaced persons camp in Germany.
With the help of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, he was able to come to the U.S. in 1948, first to New York and then to Toledo, where he worked cutting fabric in a clothing factory. He eventually earned a master’s degree in Slavic Languages and Literatures from the University of Chicago and taught at Purdue University and in the Chicago Public Schools. He now lives in Arlington Heights.
This free event is part of the One Book, One Harper initiative in collaboration with Harper College Library’s National Library Week events. One Book, One Harper encourages the community to read the same book and take part in a variety of related academic, cultural and social activities. This year's selection is "The Greatest Generation" by Tom Brokaw, who coined the term to describe the men and women who came of age during the Great Depression and World War II and then went on to build modern America.