"My Name is Staszek Surdel" featuring Joel Poremba

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"My Name is Staszek Surdel" featuring Joel Poremba

My Name is Staszek Surdel: The Improbable Survival of Nathan Poremba featuring Joel Poremba

By UC San Diego Library

When and where

Date and time

Wednesday, April 26 · 5 - 6:30pm PDT


Geisel Library UC San Diego 9500 Gilman Drive San Diego, CA 92093

About this event

  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Mobile eTicket

Presented by the UC San Diego Holocaust Living History Workshop

Generously sponsored by The Lou Dunst Memorial Lecture

Please join the UC San Diego Library and Jewish Studies Program for an in-person lecture featuring Joel Poremba on Wednesday, April 26, 2023 from 5-6:30 p.m in the Seuss Room at Geisel Library. This event is free and open to the public. Registration is required.

Books will be available for purchase after the lecture. Cash and credit cards are accepted.

On September 12, 1939, barely two weeks into the German invasion of Poland, the childhood of nine-year old Nathan Poremba came to an abrupt end when his father was murdered outside his hometown of Wieliczka. For the next five and a half years, Nathan managed to outwit the Nazis through determination and sheer will. Repeatedly tempting fate, he refused to wear the required Star of David armband, snuck around Wieliczka, and purchased illegal train tickets.

After obtaining false papers bearing the name of a dead Christian boy named “Staszek Surdel”, Nathan worked at various jobs and survived two concentration camps, convincing Poles and Germans alike that he was Polish. It would take him half a century to begin talking about his harrowing ordeal. Joel Poremba’s account of his father’s improbable Holocaust survival, published in book form in 2021, constitutes a fitting tribute to a life of extreme hardship and endurance.

About Joel Poremba, speaker

Orange County resident Joel Poremba, a graduate of Western State University, College of Law, and the University of California, San Diego with a degree in political science, is a business attorney with twenty-four years of litigation experience in both state and federal courts.

Parking and Directions Information

For directions and parking information for this event, click here. All visitors to the UC San Diego campus are required to display a valid parking pass. The closest parking to Geisel Library is the Hopkins Parking Structure. If parking in Hopkins Parking Structure, plan to enjoy a 15-minute walk to Geisel Library's public entrance. For information about accessible parking on campus, click here

For more information about the event or help with registration, contact UCSDLibrary@ucsd.edu.

About the Holocaust Living History Workshop

Established in 2008 as a collaborative project of the UC San Diego Jewish Studies Program and the Library, the Holocaust Living History Workshop (HLHW) aims to preserve the memory of the victims and survivors of the Holocaust. Starting in January 2010, the HLHW has been hosting meetings and presentations that connect local survivors, their families, researchers, UC San Diego students, and San Diego communities. Its content covers multiple topics of the history of the Jewish and Romani Holocaust, antisemitism, and Jewish migration mostly in the 1930’s – 1940’s in Europe and the United States.

For more information about UC San Diego’s Holocaust Living History Workshop, visit lib.ucsd.edu/HLHW.

About the organizer

The UC San Diego Library, ranked among the nation's top 25 public academic libraries, plays a critical role in advancing and supporting the university's research, teaching, patient care, and public service missions. The world-renowned research for which UC San Diego is known starts at the UC San Diego Library, which provides the foundation of knowledge needed to advance cutting-edge discoveries in a wide range of disciplines, from healthcare and science to public policy and the arts.