Journey with Holocaust Survivor

Inver Hills travelers retrace Inge Auerbacher’s experiences

Inge Auerbacher
Inge Auerbacher

In May 2016, Vicky Knickerbocker, humans services, humanities and sociology faculty at Inver Hills Community College, led a 17-day tour of Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic that included visits to major Holocaust sites.

The Education First (EF) College Study Tour offered stops in Berlin, Warsaw, Krakow, Prague, Nuremberg and Munich. The tour retraced the Holocaust experiences of Inge Auerbacher, a Holocaust survivor residing in Queens, New York. Inge made the trip with Vicky and several tour members. The tour departed Minneapolis May 15, 2016, and returned May 31, 2016.

Vicky Knickerbocker
Vicky Knickerbocker

Vicky pointed out that the tour first visited Inge Auerbacher’s hometown of Kippenheim before traveling to Jebenhausen, the village where Inge lived for a few years with her grandparents. “In both German villages, Inge was treated like a hometown hero,” Vicky said. “Her American friends and guests were warmly received. A German professor and one of his graduate students recorded our visit as part of a documentary about Inge and another German-born Holocaust survivor.”

Vicky added that three concentration camps were visited during the trip, Auschwitz in Poland, Terezin in the Czech Republic and Dachau in Germany. “Students were able to visit parts of Terezin with Inge, one of the few child survivors of this camp,” she said.

Inver Hills travelers with Inge Auerbacher and Robert Krais (far left) before the Stulz-Denkmal in Kippenheim
Inver Hills travelers with Inge and Robert Krais (far left standing) before monument in Kippenheim

Nicki Bottko, student life activities coordinator at Inver Hills, roomed with Inge Auerbacher on the journey. “This was my first trip to Europe,” Nicki said, “and Inge is a delightful traveling companion. She has a wonderful personality and an incredible sense of humor.”

Nicki Bottko
Nicki Bottko

Nicki noted that they visited many significant sites, including the Berlin Wall escape route, Checkpoint Charlie, and the sobering vestige of Auschwitz.

“We walked through Jewish museums and cemeteries that immortalize the memory of millions,” she said. “We also visited Prague, which is known for its role in the Velvet Revolution and features remarkable landmarks such as St. Vitus Cathedral and Prague Castle. Our tour ended in Nuremberg, where we visited the Palace of Justice, a landmark famous for the Nuremberg trials at the end of World War II.”

Nick was impressed by the beauty and consequence of her European destinations. “You can feel the history everywhere you go,” she said. “Actually visiting a Holocaust site brings home the horror of that time. Making this journey is something I will never forget.”

Bürgermeister Dieter Kirschbaum welcomes Inge and Inver Hills travelers to Kippenheim town hall
Bürgermeister Dieter Kirschbaum welcomes Inge and Inver Hills travelers to Kippenheim town hall

Holocaust experience journey participants

  • Joy Sjoberg, St. Cloud Tech retired faculty
  • Nicki Bottko, Inver Hills student life activities coordinator
  • Morgan Thumann, Inver Hills PSEO student
  • Kathy Thumann, Morgan’s mother
  • Ashley Barabash, Inver Hills paralegal graduate
  • Ashley DePover, former Inver Hills student
  • Megan Petersen, former Inver Hills student
  • Vicky Knickerbocker, Inver Hills faculty
  • Danielle Kimmes, current Inver Hills student
  • Valorie Lukkarila, current Inver Hills student
Learn more about the Holocaust experience journey by reading the Google translation of the German article, “Holocaust survivor illuminates teens,” by Susanne Gilg in Badische Zeitung. You can test your German by checking out “Mein Geburtshaus nei vergessen” on p. 9 of Ettenheimer StadtAnzeiger.
Learn more about Inge Auerbacher by reading “Inge Auerbacher: Holocaust Presentation” on Inver Hills News.
Video link: Inge Auerbacher: Surviving the Holocaust — Conversations from Penn State
For more information about Holocaust Studies at Inver Hills, contact:

Vicky Knickerbocker
Sociology, Humanities and Human Services Faculty

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