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Holocaust Survivor to Speak at Teacher Workshop

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The Army Heritage Center Foundation is hosting Echoes and Reflections, a professional development program focusing on the Holocaust for teachers, administrators, and college students majoring in Education on March 31, 2017 from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM at the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center, 950 Soldiers Drive, Carlisle, PA.  Holocaust survivor Ernie Gross will be among those in attendance and will speak about his experience.

Ernie Gross was 15 when his family was sent to a concentration camp from their home in Hungary.  Within a few weeks of being ordered to leave, Ernie found himself passing through the gates of Auschwitz.  He did not know it yet, but there, in the selection process, he was minutes away from death.  But, a Jewish guard saved his life by telling him to lie and say he was 17 so he would be selected for work instead of the gas chambers.

Ernie was sent to Dachau, where he was used for slave labor.  But as the war ground to an end, the Germans decided to exterminate all the remaining Jews that they could.  Once again, Ernie was less than an hour from death when German soldiers began throwing down their weapons.  The U.S. Army had arrived.  Ernie Gross and the remaining 30,000 inmates at Dachau were liberated.

Ernie immigrated to the United States in 1947.  Sixty years after being liberated, Ernie met and became friends with veterans of the units that liberated the camp.  Ernie will attend the workshop on March 31 to talk about his experience and answer questions from the participants.

Foundation Education Director Jeff Hawks explains why an organization dedicated to the history of the Army is interested in Holocaust Education:  “The U.S. Army played a significant role in the liberations of concentration camps in Europe, “says Hawks.  “American Soldiers were witness to the Holocaust, and many of their accounts can be found in the collections here at the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center.  Army history isn’t just about how and when our nation goes to war, but why.”

The Echoes and Reflections program provides materials and training to implement Holocaust education in schools and is a joint venture between the Anti-Defamation League, USC Shoah Foundation, and Yad Vashem.  Attending teachers will receive free classroom materials and Act 48 professional development credits.

Pennsylvania Act 70 of 2014 “strongly encourages school entities in this Commonwealth to offer instruction in the Holocaust, genocide and other human rights violations” in order to “provide children with an understanding of the importance of the protection of human rights and the potential consequences of unchecked ignorance, discrimination and persecution...”

The program is open to teachers, administrators, and students majoring in Education.  Contact the Army Heritage Center Foundation for information on how to register at 717-258-1102 or




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