In September, CLAS welcomed Holocaust concentration camp survivor Joseph Alexander to Woodbury University. At nearly 101 years old, Alexander’s visit to Woodbury was an important opportunity for our campus community to hear his story of bravery and survival. The event was sponsored by Dr. Eric Schockman’s Holocaust class, which examines how the “systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution of approximately six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators” came to be (USHMM, 2013). The class reflects CLAS’s commitment to social justice standards in its curriculum, as seen in other courses this semester like Dr. Doug Cremer’s Racism and White Supremacy.
Despite his centenarian status, Alexander remains active in sharing his experience of living in Poland at the time of the Nazi invasion, being sent to 12 different concentration camps, and his liberation by American troops in 1945. He immigrated to the United States in 1949, where he married and had two children. It wasn’t until he was in his late 70s, however, that Alexander began telling his story to audiences around the world.
This is the third time Alexander has spoken at Woodbury. In the past, he was hosted by our student-led United Nations Association. During every visit, his approach to educating new generations is to tell his personal experience in a straightforward manner, detailing what happened to him and what little he knows about the fate of his family. When asked how he found the strength to continue under unimaginable circumstances, he replied he never gave up, he never lost hope and he maintained faith. “I may have a bad day today, but I hope tomorrow will be a better day.”
An online version of Alexander’s address to the Woodbury community is available here.
Alexander’s visit to Woodbury drew the attention of the Crescenta Valley Weekly. You can view the article here.
Last Updated on October 23 2023.