(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – March 28, 2013) Holocaust survivor Clara Knopfler of Thousand Oaks will speak during a special Yom HaShoah service at 11:25 a.m. Thursday, April 11, in California Lutheran University’s Samuelson Chapel.
Knopfler lived a comfortable life in Transylvania until World War II. She was a high school sophomore when Hungarian Nazis took her Jewish family into custody in 1944. Her 19-year-old brother was shot to death in front of her father, who later perished in a death march. Knopfler and her mother were sent to Auschwitz concentration camp and later to work at camps in Latvia and East Prussia. Fiercely protected by her mother, Knopfler survived and was liberated in April 1945. The two women were the only members of their extended family to survive.
After marrying another survivor, Knopfler immigrated to the United States with her husband and mother. She taught school, mostly languages, for three decades. Her life’s mission has been to tell the story of the Holocaust. The University Village resident lectures frequently and wrote a biography titled “I Am Still Here: My Mother’s Voice.”
The full name of the day honoring the victims of the Holocaust is Yom HaShoah Ve-Hagevah, which means Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day. It is marked on the 27th day in the month of Nisan, a week after the seventh day of Passover and a week before Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day for Israel’s fallen soldiers). This year, Yom HaShoah begins at sundown on Sunday, April 7.
Yom HaShoah marks the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. The Knesset (Israeli parliament) selected the date in 1951 and adopted the full name in 1953. Although the Israeli government established the date, Jewish individuals and communities throughout the world observe the commemoration.
The chapel is located near the corner of Olsen Road and Campus Drive on the Thousand Oaks campus. For more information, contact Campus Ministries at 805-493-3228.