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Virtual speaker wraps San Antonio Public Library's month-long Holocaust remembrance

Holocaust survivors visited the former Auschwitz concentration camp on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Rob Schmitz
The front gate of the former Auschwitz death camp, now a museum, reads Arbeit macht frei, "Work sets you free." More than 2 million people visit the Auschwitz museum each year.

This Holocaust Remembrance Day, San Antonians can hear about the experiences of escaping the Holocaust and adjusting to life in a foreign land from the son of a Holocaust survivor.

The virtual online appearance by Dan Ottenheimer talking about his family and father, Fritz Ottenheimer, is sponsored by the San Antonio Public Library and marks an end to a month of library events related to the Holocaust.

Fritz was born in 1925 in Germany. When Hitler came to power in 1933, Fritz and his family were forced to endure antisemitic persecution, according to the library.

In 1938, Fritz witnessed his father’s — Ottenheimer's grandfather's — arrest and deportation to Dachau concentration camp, on what is now called Kristallnacht. After his father’s release, Fritz and his family immigrated to the United States. In 1944, Fritz volunteered to become a member of the U.S. Army and was deployed to Germany. 

San Antonio Public Library
Holocaust speaker Dan Ottenheimer

Before Fritz passed away in 2017, he shared his experiences with his son Dan who continues to tell Fritz’s stories of about growing up as a Jewish child in Nazi Germany, immigrating to the US, and his return to Germany as a solider in the US Army.

To register for "An Evening with Dan Ottenheimer" at 6 p.m. on Zoom, click here.

This year's library series ran from January 3-27 and featured an exhibit, in-person and online programs, take and make kits, and more.

This year's theme, Immigration and Refugees, focused on the experiences of those who escaped the persecution of the Holocaust by fleeing to other parts of the world, either as immigrants or refugees.

San Antonio Public Library hosts the Holocaust Learn & Remember program series every January as a partnership with the Holocaust Memorial Museum of San Antonio.

The museum within the Barshop Jewish Community Center on Northwest Military, north of the Medical Center area, is a great source to learn more about the Holocaust including several displays.

There are more than 1,700 materials related to the holocaust in the SAPL collection, according to library spokesman Scott Williams.

The Holocaust Memorial Museum in San Antonio also has several events planned for Jan. 28.

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Brian Kirkpatrick can be reached at brian@tpr.org and on Twitter at @TPRBrian