Shayna Sorrentino, president of Marymount College’s Jewish Student Union, is a young woman with a purpose. She wants to explore what connects us - and separates us - in our faiths. More importantly, she wants to share the Jewish heritage of faith and perseverance with both the Marymount and South Bay Community. To that end, Shayna invited Palos Verdes resident Robert Geminder to the campus to speak about his experiences as a child in Poland during World War II – not inside a camp, but outside as he tried to escape the Nazi tyranny.
“So many of us have heard of the horrors in the concentration camps but Mr. Geminder lived through a much different horror. As a child he witnessed atrocities; he knew what would happen if he and his family were ever caught. I can’t imagine where that fortitude comes from – nor can I imagine how he went on to become such a productive citizen after that. I think we will all learn a lot from his experiences.”
Indeed, Mr. Geminder has a lot to say about staying alive, the dedication of family and the importance of faith. Because of a resourceful mother, he escaped the Jewish ghetto before it was razed, scrambled through a hole in the top of a train car as it sat idle 100 yards from Auschwitz and masqueraded as a Christian only to have to escape again when the Nazis decided to kill Jew and Christian alike.
This is a story of amazing courage and resilience. Shayna Sorrentino and Marymount are excited to welcome Mr. Geminder to our campus on April 29. Admission is free. The event will be held in the Marymount Auditorium at 7:00 p.m.