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Champaign Resident Who Escaped Holocaust To Speak

A Champaign resident who escaped the Nazi Holocaust is sharing his story this weekend, as part of the Day of Remembrance events leading up to next week's Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Doctor Heini Halberstam was born in Czechoslovakia, and separated from his mother during the Nazi occupation. He believes she died in a labor camp. Halberstam said that changed his life forever.

"In 1938, I was 12 and a half, and I was on one of the Kindertransports," Halberstam said. "And as the train pulled out of the station, I suddenly knew that I would have to look after myself."

The Kindertransports were rescue missions that brought thousands of mostly Jewish children from Nazi-controlled territories in the months leading up to World War II. Halberstam grew up to become a mathematician specializing in number theory. He's now an emeritus professor at the University of Illinois.

Dr. Halberstam will speak about his experiences Sunday evening, April 15th, at 7, at a community-wide commemoration of Holocaust victims at Sinai Temple, 3104 W. Windsor Road in Champaign. He will also speak in Peoria at the Congregation Anshai Emeth Social Hall, 5614 North University Street, at the Holocaust Remembrance Day service on Thursday, April 19, at 6:45 PM.

(Photo by Sean Powers/WILL)

Categories: Biography, Community
Tags: culture, people