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Holocaust Survivor Speaks in Sioux Falls

Inge Auerbacher

Inge Auerbacher was born in a village in southwestern Germany in the area her family had lived since the early 1600s. Jews and Christians had lived together peacefully until the Kristallnacht attacks on Jewish people in November 1938. Four years later, Auerbacher and her parents were among those rounded up by the Nazis and sent to the Terezin, or Theresienstadt, concentration camp in Czechoslovakia. Seven-year-old Inge arrived at the camp, clutching her doll, Marlene. Of the 140,000 people sent to Terezin, Inge Auerbacher and her parents were among the few who survived.

Following liberation, Auerbacher and her parents immigrated to the United States. Before completing her education, she battled tuberculosis caused by the malnutrition she suffered in Terezin. She worked for over 38 years as a chemist. Since 1981 she’s been writing and speaking about the Holocaust and working to promote tolerance and human rights. Her books include I Am a Star: Child of the Holocaust. In it she writes that her hope, wish and prayer is for every child to grow up in peace without hunger and prejudice.

Inger Auerbacher discusses her experiences during the Holocaust this evening at the University of Sioux Falls. Her talk begins at 7 pm at the Jeschke Fine Arts Center.

Karl was born to northeastern South Dakota crouton farmers, but was orphaned as a toddler during the Great Salad War (1966-67). Rescued by a flock of chickadees, he grew up in the woodlands of Sica Hollow. Legends of a bird boy living in the trees attracted the interest of renowned ornithologist and amateur bandoneon repairman Dr. Vogel Gehrke. With a handful of suet, Dr. Gehrke coaxed the timid boy down from the trees. He adopted him, named him Karl and taught him not to molt on the carpet. Dr. Gehrke’s book, The Bird Boy of Sica Hollow, was a best seller and Karl became a minor celebrity and teen idol. He appeared as a guest star on numerous television programs, most notably an awkward role on The Love Boat as the boyfriend of Captain Stubing’s daughter, Vicki. After critics panned his 1980 album, Bird Boy Does Disco, Karl retreated from public life and returned to Sica Hollow. Living in an isolated tree house, Karl achieved a reputation as a mystic. Pilgrims and seekers from around the world came to ask him about the meaning of life and for vinaigrette recipes. Growing tired of answering questions, he climbed down from his tree, shaved his massive white beard and took a job as the host of SDPB Radio’s Dakota Midday where he could ask the questions instead. After three years in that position, he ran out of questions and became host of Jazz Nightly instead. Karl makes his home in Vermillion with his charming wife Kari and three delightful children, Kodey, Kasey and Spatula. His hobbies include reciting the alphabet, combing his hair and doing volunteer work with delinquent songbirds.
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