World #1 POLAND – Holocaust survivor travels to Poland for 75th anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz

A picture of child prisoners taken just after the liberation of Auschwitz in January 1945 ( AP )

(The Malone Telegram) PLATTSBURGH, NY –– On Jan. 25, Holocaust survivor and Plattsburgh resident Vladimir Munk will fly to Krakow, Poland, as part of the survivor’s delegation to participate in the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

Munk is one of 120 survivors in the delegation who will attend the event on Jan. 27 at Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, which will be televised around the world. Travel arrangements for the survivors delegation are sponsored by the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Foundation.

Munk was born in Pardubice, Czech Republic. At the age of 17, he was deported, first to the Terezin concentration camp and then to Auschwitz in October of 1944. Munk lost his parents and many other family members to the Nazi death camps. He met his wife, Kitty, in Terezin. They were married after the war.

Munk will be accompanied on the trip by his friend and biographer, Julie Canepa. Documentarians Paul Frederick and Bruce Carlin will also travel to Poland to film Munk’s return to Auschwitz for a future public television program. In addition, Carlin and Frederick will travel to the Czech Republic to film on location at Terezin concentration camp, locations in Prague and Munk’s hometown of Pardubice.

Mr. Munk with his friend and biographer, Julie Canepa.

Munk taught microbiology at SUNY Plattsburgh for over 20 years. He shared his story with colleagues, students and friends. When speaking at area high schools, Munk told students:

“While your lives today and in the future are not comparable to the situation in the camps, you may feel sometimes stressed, depressed, hopeless, ready to give up. Evoke then my stories and fight – for your career, for your future, for your life. You may not always win, but the victory will be always sweet!”

Read Mr. Munk’s story at:

Photo: WJC President Ronald S. Lauder during a visit to Auschwitz on 6 December 2019. (photo Shahar Azran)

Streaming of the anniversary events with simultaneous translation into Polish and English will also be available in HD quality at, on YouTube and social media sites of the Auschwitz Memorial.

Visit the website for the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum.


1. For POLAND, give the following information:

  1. capital
  2. location/the countries that share its borders
  3. the religious breakdown of the population
  4. the type of government
  5. the chief of state (and head of government if different) If monarch or dictator, since what date has he/she ruled? – include name of heir apparent for monarch
  6. the population

Find the answers at the CIA World FactBook website. For each country, answers can be found under the “Geography” “People” and “Government” headings.

NOTE: Before answering the following questions, read the info under “Background” below and watch the video under “Resources” below.

2. For POLAND:
a) list the who, what, where and when of the news item
b) How many survivors of the Nazi death camp Auschwitz will attend the 75th commemoration there next week?
c) What do you think of Mr. Munk’s message to students when sharing his story?
d) What do you know about the Holocaust? Spend at least an hour reading some of the stories from survivors. Check out some of the videos. (See links under “Background” and “Resources.”)  What do you think is most important to share with others? – What should every student, every person hear/know?


Before the outbreak of World War II, there were an estimated 16.5 million Jews in the world.

  • The Holocaust, also known as Shoah (Hebrew “the catastrophe”; Yiddish: from the Hebrew for “destruction”), was the mass murder or genocide of approximately six million Jews during World War II, a program of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi Germany, led by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party, throughout the German Reich and German-occupied territories.
  • Of the nine million Jews who had resided in Europe before the Holocaust, approximately two-thirds were killed.
  • Over one million Jewish children were killed in the Holocaust, as were approximately two million Jewish women and three million Jewish men.
  • A network of over 40,000 facilities in Germany and German-occupied territory were used to concentrate, hold, and kill Jews and other victims. (from wikipedia)

Remembering the Holocaust:

  • January 27 marks the liberation of the Auschwitz – the Nazi death camp – in 1945. It is also designated International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
  • Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day – Yom HaShoah – is a national memorial day. It was inaugurated in 1953.  It is held on the 27th of Nisan (April/May), unless the 27th would be adjacent to Shabbat, in which case the date is shifted by a day.
  • Some other countries have different commemorative days for the same event:
  • Yad Vashem (“Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority”) is Israel’s official memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust established in 1953. The origin of the name is from a Biblical verse: “And to them will I give in my house and within my walls a memorial and a name (Yad Vashem) that shall not be cut off.” (Isaiah 56:5).

Visit the U.S. Holocaust Museum page on the Liberation of Auschwitz.

Read “A Race to Preserve the Voices of Holocaust’s Last Survivors” (from Dec. 2013)


HIGHLY RECOMMENDED MOVIE: ****The Hidden Story of the Jewish Brigade in World War II.

In addition to many of the well-known books recounting the Holocaust, we recommend the following:

Read Vladimir Munk’s story at:

Rina Quint was 6 years old when she was deported with her father to a concentration camp – watch her story at youtube.

Watch a Jan. 17 local CBS News report about another Auschwitz survivor who is traveling to Poland for the 75th commemoration:

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