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Holocaust survivor, 85-year-old Ida Kersz, to speak Wednesday night at Viterbo



Holocaust survivor Ida Kersz (PHOTO: Viterbo University)

An 85-year-old Holocaust survivor, who was rescued from a Polish ghetto as a young girl, will speak about her experiences Wednesday night at Viterbo University.

Ida Kersz is this year’s speaker in Viterbo’s continuing series of programs related to World War II and the Holocaust. The event will begin at 7 p.m. at the Viterbo Fine Arts Center and is free to the public.

Kercz joined WIZM’s La Crosse Talk this week.

La Crosse Talk airs weekdays at 6-9 a.m. Listen on the WIZM app, online here, or on 92.3 FM / 1410 AM / 106.7 FM (north of Onalaska). Find all the podcasts here or subscribe to La Crosse Talk PM wherever you get your podcasts.

Kercz was born in Poland in 1939, the same year that the Germans invaded that country, and she was sent with relatives to a ghetto.

Kercz said her aunt was able to smuggle her out of confinement. She was then given to a Polish man, who was able to adopt Kercz.

“At night, my aunt handed me over the barbed wires” to the man who took her to live with his family in another city, and raised her in a Catholic family. Kercz said it surprised her later to learn that she was Jewish.

Kercz had been separated from her twin brother Adam, and was able to reunite with him 50 years after the war.

When asked why she speaks publicly about her experiences, Kercz said “this is my mission. I have to talk about it, because people already forgot, or they are not aware what happened.”

Kercz met her future husband in Israel years after the war and their family eventually moved to Chicago.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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