Henry Oertelt


Holocaust survivor to receive honorary doctorate from SCSU

Monday, May 8, 2006

ST. CLOUD, Minn. – St. Cloud State University will present Holocaust survivor Henry Oertelt with an honorary doctorate at the spring semester commencement ceremony for undergraduate students.

The ceremony begins at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 14, in the National Hockey Center.

Oertelt, a St. Paul resident, is a lecturer and author of the book “An Unbroken Chain: My Journey through the Nazi Holocaust.” His testimony is featured on “Surviving Auschwitz: Five Personal Journeys,” a Shoah Foundation online educational exhibit

Oertelt was a boy living with his family in Berlin when the Nazis began their efforts to limit the movements and freedoms of Jewish people. Oertelt survived the horrors of five Nazi death camps, including Auschwitz. The U.S. Army rescued him from a death march in April 1945. He suffered some of the worst atrocities of the Nazis and was destined to teach generations of students at SCSU and other universities about the horrors of the Holocaust.

Philosophy Professor Joseph Edelheit, director of the Jewish Studies program, SCSU Department of Sociology and Anthropology Chairman Robert Lavenda, SCSU Center for Holocaust and Genocide Education Director Susan Motin and Criminal Justice Professor Barry Schreiber nominated Oertelt for the honorary doctorate after he spoke on campus in November.

Oertelt will be presented with his honorary doctorate and speak briefly at the spring commencement, which about 1,500 graduates and 6,000 guests are expected to attend.

He will be honored at a luncheon reception in the Stewart Hall auditorium lobby prior to commencement.

SCSU offers 16,000 students 175 majors, minors and pre-professional programs in Business, Education, Fine Arts & Humanities, Science & Engineering, and Social Sciences, and 50 master’s degrees through its School of Graduate Studies. The university is located 70 miles northwest of the Twin Cities along the Mississippi River.