In the Fall of 2017, the Iowa Jewish Historical Society presented a series of programs featuring Celina Karp Biniaz, one of the last living survivors from Schindler’s List—and the only one who graduated from North High School and Grinnell College in Iowa.
During her visit, Celina shared her personal story, which included nearly five years in the Krakow ghetto and the Plaszow labor camp, the accidental transfer to Auschwitz instead of Schindler’s factory in Czechoslovakia, and her terrifying encounter with Dr. Joseph Mengele before she, her mother, and the other women on Schindler’s list were rescued by Schindler and were reunited with her father at Schindler’s factory.
Celina also recounts her family’s immigration to Des Moines and life in the United States.
More than 2,700 people of all ages and backgrounds participated in the series of events and were impacted by Celina’s story and messages for future generations:
“My heart was touched for her compassion for humanity and for the world. How can that be after all that she has been through?”
“That was an amazing experience… the inspiring/moving/graceful presentation by Celina… I will never forget her stories and the message of hope I took from them.”
“It was powerful to see the intergenerational effect on these young people… Just as Celina spoke about the nun who had changed her life, I felt that you could see how she was herself changing the lives of those in the room.”
Listen to Celina’s History
Celina’s presentations from 2017 are available on YouTube and are listed below.
This presentation was recorded at Valley High School on Sunday, September 10, 2017.
This presentation was recorded on September 12, 2017, in the Melva and Martin Bucksbaum Auditorium at The Caspe Terrace. This talk includes poems Celina wrote after participating in the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz in 2015.
This presentation was recorded at North High School on September 13, 2017, and is courtesy of the Des Moines Public Schools.