COLDWATER – In a collaborative effort between the Branch District Library and Tibbits Opera House, Holocaust survivor Irene Butter will share her story of hope at a lecture and book signing at Tibbits on March 28 at 2pm.
Irene Butter was born in Berlin and grew up as a Jewish child in Nazi-occupied Europe. A survivor of two concentration camps, she came to the US in 1945. Since the late 80s she has been teaching students about the Holocaust and the lessons she learned during those traumatic years. Her memoir, “Shores Beyond Shores,” details her journey.
One of the first women to earn a Ph.D in economics from Duke University, Butter has a long list of achievements including co-founding the Raoul Wallenberg Medal & Lecture series at the University of Michigan, and as one of the founders of Zeitouna, an Arab/Jewish Women's Dialogue group in Ann Arbor. She has been recognized with The Genesis Award in 2011 as Distinguished Humanitarian; the Federal Inter-Agency Award in 2011 for Educational Outreach and Service; and the People of Distinction Humanitarian Award in 2013.
Though she spent many decades not talking about her experience in the Holocaust, when her daughter was in high school, she was asked to share her story, and she did. A few years later she was invited to participate in a panel about Anne Frank.
“Since Anne was no longer with us to share her story, I realized the importance of my responsibility in speaking of what we had endured. With a larger and more public audience, I fully found my voice. I started visiting more and more schools and was moved by how much the audiences, especially students, appreciated my story,” Butter said.
Butter says, “I didn't ask to go through the Holocaust, but I was saved through the miracles of luck and the love and determination of my Pappi. I owe it to him and everybody who suffered to talk about what I learned because suffering never ends, so our work must continue.”
Andrew Solomon, national book award winning author, called Butter’s book “a triumph of clarity and concision, written with a passionate intent to inform and with not a shred of self-pity.” He continued, “It is by turns profound and intimate, and bears witness to the resilience of a family who drew strength from one another even through the darkness of the Holocaust. It is a shockingly honest and hopeful book.”
Doors for this free lecture and book signing at Tibbits will open at 1pm, with the lecture beginning at 2pm. Concessions will be available for purchase. Tibbits Opera House, located at located at 14 S. Hanchett St. in Coldwater, MI. More information is available at Tibbits.org.
Butter’s book “Shores Beyond Shores” is part of Branch District Library’s “One Book One County” program, which has additional book discussion dates between March 14 and March 25 at all branch locations. For more information on the discussion location, dates, and times, visit branchdistrictlibrary.org.