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WWII Resistance Fighters

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Telling a Story of Holocaust Survival

Lawrence Sutin
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Minnesota author Lawrence Sutin will present “A Tribute to Jack and Rochelle: Creating a Record of Holocaust Survival" at 3:30 pm on Thurs., Dec. 1 in Montague 80 at UMD. A reception and book signing in the lobby of the Marshall Performing Arts Center follows the presentation. The event is part of the lecture series presented by the Center for Genocide, Holocaust and Human Rights Studies.

Lawrence Sutin and his parents, Jack and Rochelle Sutin, wrote Jack and Rochelle: A Holocaust Story of Love and Resistance. The book was published in 1995 by Greywolf Press. Sutin will present his parents' stories as resistance fighters as well share insights on the collaborative undertaking. "As a writer, I want to be able to focus not only on their story, but on the process by which that story came to be written," Sutin said.

Jack and Rochelle Sutin, as Polish Jews, fled separately in 1942 from their respective ghettos, where they had been relocated by the Germans. Each hid in the woods, and after harrowing encounters with anti-Semitic escaping Russian soldiers, Rochelle joined Jack's group of Jewish partisans (resistance fighters). Although mere acquaintances before the outbreak of war, Jack and Rochelle fell in love and together fought in the resistance movement, enduring near-starvation, disease, and the constant threat of capture by Germans and Poles. They hid in dank underground bunkers or camps, often unaware of the outside world. After the war, the Sutins married and emigrated to the U.S.

Lawrence Sutin presents his parents' story in their own words - words that he has heard throughout his life. In the afterword, he offers his experiences as a child of Holocaust survivors. "There are two voices intertwined in the narrative: those of Jack and Rochelle. Now and then they interrupt each other. This is the way they have told these stories for the past fifty years: side by side, listening intently each to the other, at the ready to speak up lest a single detail be lost. These stories are their lives, the testament of their survival and their love for each other." — from the Preface by Lawrence Sutin.

Lawrence Sutin is the author of two memoirs, Jack and Rochelle: A Holocaust Story of Love and Resistance (1995) and A Postcard Memoir (2000); two biographies, Divine Invasions: A Life of Philip K. Dick (1989) and Do What Thou Wilt: A Life of Aleister Crowley (2000), and a historical work, All Is Change: The Two Thousand Year Journey of Buddhism to the West (2006). He lives in Minneapolis and teaches in the MFA and MALS programs of Hamline University and the low-residency MFA program at Vermont College.

This event is co-sponsored by the Royal D. Alworth, Jr. Institute for International Studies (Alworth Institute). For information, contact Associate Professor Alexis Pogorelskin, Department of History,, 218-726-7548, or see

Written by Cheryl Reitan, November 2011

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