Speaker recounts survival of concentration camps

Edith Bell offered an informative and moving account of her experience as a victim and survivor of the persecution of the Jewish people during the Nazi regime in Germany at a lecture she gave at Penn State Greater Allegheny.

At age 19, she was captured and sent to several concentration camps. Her father, a former WWI veteran, died in prison of an untreated illness. Her mother perished in the gas chamber, soon after mother and daughter were separated upon arriving at one of the camps.

The lecture, offered to a group of about 40 students and other campus members, vividly portrayed everyday living conditions among women prisoners: grueling work schedules, meager food rations, inadequate sanitation and clothing. As Soviet troops advanced and German guards abandoned their posts, with painfully blistered feet, Edith Bell began a years-long journey through various countries, Denmark, Panama and eventually settled in the U.S.

Bell answered student questions drawing on decades of work as an impassioned peace activist. She ended her talk exhorting students to seek information about contemporary violations of human rights and mentioned several campaigns and civic organizations that students could approach to become more involved citizens.