On Thursday, Jan. 28, at 9:40 a.m. Donald Berkman, author of “Two Voices: A Mother & Son, Holocaust Survivors” will speak to the Saint Augustine Prep community in Richland.
Saint Augustine Prep’s annual school wide read, known as the Veritas Program, has been sponsored by the Sara & Sam Schoffer Holocaust Resource Center at Stockton University. All are welcome to attend.
A resident of Margate, Berkman and his mother, Sara, escaped from the ghetto to the forests of Lithuania, living in root cellars and barns but continually moving around to outwit the Nazis. They survived for over two years on potatoes, bread and, at times, grass.
Berkman was first enrolled in kindergarten when he was 9 years old after he and his mother made it to America, according to a 2011 story printed in the Press of Atlantic City.
“If you want to, you can achieve,” he said. “But you have to work at it. I’ve been very fortunate.”
For the school’s Veritas Program, a committee selects a current global issue and decides on a book which addresses it in an insightful manner. During the first semester of the academic year, there is a “community read” of the book by all students, faculty, and professional staff; the issues the book raises are discussed in classes; and the author is invited to address the wider school and local community.
At this assembly, the school presents the author with the Veritas Award in recognition of the contributions made to raising consciousness of a critical issue.
Past recipients of the Veritas Award, along with the books read and issues addressed, are:
2009, Valentino Achak Deng (“What is the What?” genocide in Africa)
2010, Somaly Mam (“The Road of Lost Innocence,” human trafficking)
2011, Dan Austin (“True Fans,” plight of children in the Third World)
2012, Chris Herren (“Basketball Junkie,” struggles with drug addiction)
2013, Bryan Anderson (“No Turning Back,” military service)
2014, Father (now Bishop) Robert Barron (“Catholicism,” role of Christians today).