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The Forum opens Oct. 1 with Holocaust survivor, Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient

August 16, 2013
Gerda Weissmann Klein

EAU CLAIRE — The 72nd season of The Forum at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will open Oct. 1 with a presentation by Gerda Weissmann Klein, Holocaust survivor and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Klein is a Polish-born American writer and human rights activist. Her autobiographical account of the Holocaust, "All but My Life" (1957), was adapted for the 1995 short film "One Survivor Remembers," which received an Academy Award and an Emmy Award, and was selected for the National Film Registry. She met her late husband, Kurt Klein on May 7, 1945, when as a lieutenant with the U.S. Army's 5th Infantry Division he liberated her and others from Nazi captivity. Married in 1946, the Kleins became tireless advocates of Holocaust education and human rights, founding the Klein Foundation to promote tolerance and community service. A naturalized U.S. citizen, Gerda Weissmann Klein also founded Citizenship Counts, a nonprofit organization that champions the value and responsibilities of American citizenship. She received the 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States.

Her presentation — titled "One Survivor Remembers" — will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Schofield Auditorium. The event is the first of six Forum events scheduled for the 2013-14 season. The rest of the season will include the following:

  • Jessica Valenti, "Purity, Sexism and Activism" ; Oct. 23, Schofield Auditorium, 7:30 p.m. Called one of the world's Top 100 Inspiring Women (The Guardian), Valenti is the author of "Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman's Guide to Why Feminism Matters" (2007) and "He's a Stud, She's a Slut, and 49 Other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know" (2008). Her 2009 book, "The Purity Myth: How America's Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women," was made into a documentary by the Media Education Foundation. Valenti also founded the blog Feministing, which the Columbia Journalism Review calls "head and shoulders above almost any writing on women's issues in mainstream media."
  • James Loewen, Dec. 3, Schofield Auditorium, 7:30 p.m. Loewen is an acclaimed historian and bestselling author whose mission is to overturn myths and misinformation that too often pass for history. Revised and updated in 2008, "Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong" is a telling critique of existing books and more importantly, a wonderful retelling of U.S history as it should — and could — be taught. The book received the 1996 American Book Award and the Oliver Cromwell Cox Award for Distinguished Anti-Racist Scholarship. An expert witness in more than 50 civil rights, voting rights and employment cases, Loewen taught race relations for 20 years at the University of Vermont and was on the faculty of Mississippi's Tougaloo College.
  • Frank Abagnale, "Catch Me If You Can"; Feb. 19, 2014, Schofield Auditorium, 7:30 p.m. One of the most respected authorities on forgery, embezzlement and secure documents, Abagnale has advised hundreds of financial institutions, corporations and government agencies around the world for more than 30 years. His rare blend of knowledge and expertise began when he was known as one of the world's most famous con men. Between the ages of 16 and 21 he successfully posed as an airline pilot, an attorney, a college professor and a pediatrician, in addition to cashing $2.5 million in fraudulent checks. Imprisoned when he was 21, he was released after five years on the condition that he would help the U.S. government, without remuneration, by teaching and assisting federal law enforcement agencies. His bestselling autobiography was adapted for a 2002 film directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks.
  • Carl Elliott, March 26, 2014, Schofield Auditorium, 7:30 p.m. Elliott is professor in the Center for Bioethics and the department of pediatrics at the University of Minnesota, and an affiliate faculty member in the department of philosophy and the school of journalism and mass communications. He is the author or editor of seven books, including "White Coat, Black Hat: Adventures on the Dark Side of Medicine" (2010) and "Better than Well: American Medicine Meets the American Dream" (2003). His articles have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The London Review of Books, Mother Jones, The New York Times and The New England Journal of Medicine. In 2011 the Austen Riggs Center awarded him its Erikson Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media. He blogs at Fear and Loathing in Bioethics.
  • Angela Davis, "How Gender, Race and Socioeconomic Status Define Equality for All"; April 23, 2014, Schofield Auditorium, 7:30 p.m. Davis has been deeply involved in our nation's quest for social justice through her activism and scholarship over the last decades. Her work as an educator — both at the university level and in the public sphere — has always emphasized the importance of building communities of struggle for economic, racial and gender justice. She spent the last 15 years at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she is now a distinguished professor emerita of history of consciousness, an interdisciplinary doctoral program, and feminist studies. A persistent theme of her recent work has been the range of social problems associated with incarceration and the generalized criminalization of communities that are most affected by poverty and racial discrimination.

Established in 1942, The Forum continues its tradition of presenting many of the world's greatest minds and imaginations. A typical Forum includes a 60-minute lecture, a 30-minute question-and-answer session and an open reception.

Ticket sales begin Sept. 3 at the Service Center in the east lobby of Davies Center, 715-836-3727. Season subscriptions are available for 25 percent off the single-ticket price.

Tickets for individual Forum events are $8 for the public; $6 for those 62 and older and UW System or Chippewa Valley Technical College faculty and staff; and $4 for those 17 and younger and UW System or CVTC students. Student tickets are half price, $2, until the day of the event. On the day of the event, students must pay the full student ticket price.

Patrons may charge their tickets to Discover, MasterCard or Visa when they purchase online or order by phone. Call 715-836-3727 or, outside the immediate Eau Claire area, call toll-free 800-949-UWEC. A $3 handling fee will be added to all online and telephone charge orders.

The Forum is funded by the students of UW-Eau Claire and administered by the Activities, Involvement and Leadership office of the University Centers. Wisconsin Public Radio and Community Television have contributed generous promotional support.




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