Event details

April 6, 2021
4:00 PM

In 1944, Hungarian physician’s assistant Olga Lengyel was deported to Auschwitz along with her parents, husband, and two sons. She was put to work in the Auschwitz infirmary, where she also secretly toiled for a French underground cell, helping to demolish a crematory oven. At the end of the war, she was the only member of her family to survive.

Lengyel made her way to New York and, in 1946, published Five Chimneys: A Woman Survivor’s True Story of Auschwitz, which became one of the earliest testimonies to depict the barbarism of the Nazis. Thirty years later, her vivid exposé of the death camps inspired William Styron’s award-winning novel Sophie’s Choice.

20 years after Lengyel’s death in April 2001, join the Museum and The Olga Lengyel Institute for a program exploring her remarkable life and legacy. The program will be moderated by Dr. Sara R. Horowitz, Professor of Comparative Literature and Jewish Studies at York University and an expert in women and the Holocaust, and will feature:

  • David A. Field, Chairman of the Institute’s Board of Directors;
  • Nancy Fisher, Museum Trustee who conducted a four-hour interview with Lengyel in 1998 for the USC Shoah Foundation; and
  • Robert Jan van Pelt, world-renowned scholar and Chief Curator of Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away.

A $10 suggested donation enables us to present programs like this one. We thank you for your support.

We would like to express our appreciation to the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) for supporting this public program. Through recovering the assets of the victims of the Holocaust, the Claims Conference enables organizations around the world to provide education about the Shoah and to preserve the memory of those who perished.

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Public programming at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust is made possible, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council; the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; a Humanities New York CARES Grant with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the federal CARES Act; and other generous donors.

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