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The University of Southern Indiana Foundation will host the inaugural speaker for the Edward D. and Regina Rechnic Holocaust Series at 7 p.m. Sept. 28 in Carter Hall on USI’s campus. The series will feature a presentation, “They Survived the Holocaust: The Rechnics of Evansville and Their Family,” by Charles L. Berger, Esquire, followed by a Q&A session with audience members and reception. The event is open to the public at no charge.
Berger’s presentation, “They Survived the Holocaust: The Rechnics of Evansville and Their Family,” will explore the story of how Edward, Regina, and Irene Rechnic experienced and survived the Holocaust in Poland and other areas of Europe from 1935 through 1945, as well as what happened to others in their family. The story spans many years and exemplifies the tragedy of the brutal treatment carried out by the Nazis and their collaborators while illustrating the triumphs of those who survived.
“I knew Irene and her parents — witnessing the arrest and imprisonment of her parents and then being a ‘hidden child’ forced Irene to grow up quickly,” Berger says. “She had a lifelong passion for learning and was determined to do everything she could to make sure no one forgot the atrocities Hitler perpetrated on the world.”
This series is made possible by the late Irene C. Rechnic, daughter of Edward D. and Regina Rechnic, and honors her parents’ struggle to survive the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, where 960,000 Jews were executed. After the Allies’ liberation of its survivors, the Rechnics were reunited with their daughter, who had been hiding with a Catholic family. The Rechnics then settled in Belgium and, in 1953, migrated to Evansville.
“As the daughter of two Holocaust survivors and as one who went through the trauma of saying goodbye to them as she became a ‘hidden child,’ Miss Rechnic had a lifelong passion for ensuring the destruction of the European Jews by the Nazis and their collaborators must never be forgotten,” USI Vice President for Development David A. Bower says. “Irene’s decision to establish a perpetual endowment to host a Holocaust speaker for an annual presentation at USI will serve as a permanent legacy to fulfill her goal.”
Berger, the 2022 keynote speaker, was born in 1947 in Evansville. He graduated from the University of Evansville in 1969 and received his law degree with honors from Indiana University School of Law in 1972. After law school, Berger returned to Evansville and went into practice with his father, Sydney, who in 1946 founded Berger & Berger, LLP, a firm known for representing the working class in Evansville.
Visit USI’s website to learn more about the Edward D. and Regina Rechnic Holocaust Series.