Mar 022010
Authors: K.C. Fleming

Artist Paula Burger survived the Holocaust by jumping fences.

When the Nazis would raid her little town, what had become a ghetto in Poland after German invasion, her parents would send her over the fence to hide until they left.

Born in Poland in 1934, Burger survived her relocation to Soviet-controlled Novogrudek, Poland after the Nazis invaded in 1941.

She later found refuge in the Jewish Bielski partisan camp, which was depicted in the 2008 movie “Defiance.” Situated in Belarus between 1941 and 1944, the Nazi resistance group rescued more than 1,200 Jews, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Web site,

As a part of Holocaust and Genocide Awareness Week, Burger will share her story of survival tonight in the Lory Student Center Theater. The event will start with an art showing at 6 p.m. and Burger will speak at 7 p.m.

Burger first started to paint at the age of 12, and she immigrated to the U.S. in 1949 at 14. From then on, Burger’s reputation as an artist began to grow, and she said that she has always wanted to be a painter.

“Well I’m an artist. Painting means everything to me. It’s what I do,” Burger said in a phone interview with the Collegian.

“The fact that Paula lived through (the Holocaust) and can attest for that story … I think, why not go?” said Ashley Lauwereins, the president of the Hillel Chapter at CSU. “There really is no reason for people not to go to hear how someone survived.”

Hillel Director Josh Samet encouraged that people go to Burger’s presentation.

“Basically the whole purpose of this in regard to the Holocaust is never forget,” he said.

“Most CSU students … their kids will never hear a story (of survival),” he said. “So it’s for them to take in and pass on to other people as well.”

Editor’s note: President of the Hillel Chapter at CSU Ashley Lauwereins is also a reporter for the Collegian.

Staff reporter K.C. Fleming can be reached at

What: artist and Holocaust survivor Paula Burger

Where: speaking in the Lory Student Center Theatre

When: Today, 7 p.m.

An art showing precedes the talk at 6 p.m.

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