The Friends of the College of Staten Island will welcome Dr. Ann Kirschner, author of Sala’s Gift: My Mother’s Holocaust Story, to their Annual Spring Literary Brunch on Sunday, April 13 in the Campus Center Park Café from 11:00am to 2:00pm.
Dr. Kirshner will discuss her book Sala’s Gift and its riveting personal account of her mother’s heroic experiences through seven Nazi labor camps in Poland and Czechoslovakia between 1940 and 1945. Her mother, Sala Garncarz Kirschner, was in her late teens and early 20s at the time, and she succeeded in keeping a cardboard box with her throughout the harrowing journeys.
Sala kept the box secret from her family for nearly 50 years, but decided, just before receiving triple bypass heart surgery, to give the box to her daughter.
Inside the box, Ann Kirschner found a collection of more than 350 items that included letters, photographs, diary entries, and other documents that led her through the horrible experiences that her mother had to endure at the hands of the Nazis. Regardless of the darkness that Sala faced, a unifying theme is her optimism and will to survive.
Kirschner is currently the Dean of the Macaulay Honors College of The City University of New York.
Dr. Christine Cea, President of the Friends of CSI comments, “Sala’s gift to her daughter, Ann, is a gift to us all. It speaks of the hope, determination, and the power of the spirit of a young woman at the darkest period of her life. How appropriate that Ann Kirschner shares her mother’s story with us in the spring…the season of new growth and renewal of life, the celebration of Easter and Passover, and of course, Mother’s Day.”
Event Chairs are Beverly Garcia-Anderson, First Vice President of the Friends of CSI, and Anthony DeFazio, Treasurer of the Friends.
Beverly (Pietracatella) Garcia-Anderson is a native Staten Islander, born in West Brighton. Mrs. Garcia-Anderson has received many honors, including recognition awards from the New York State Office of Education, the New York City office of the Comptroller, the Department of Education’s Distinguished Faculty, and Delta Kappa Gamma.
In addition to her service as president of the board at Project Hospitality, she is also president of the board of the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art, first vice president of the Friends of CSI, secretary of the board at Skylight Center, and an Elder at Olivet Presbyterian Church where she serves as chairperson of the finance and long-range planning committees. Mrs. Garcia Anderson and her husband Larry Anderson (Curtis ’60) live on Lighthouse Hill and have five sons and three grandsons.
Anthony DeFazio worked five years for the New York City Housing Authority, before joining the Internal Revenue Service. Anthony was active in the Army Reserve for over 30 years, attaining the rank of Colonel. During his time as a member of the Army Reserve, he held many positions including Commander of the 24th M. I. Bn. on Staten Island, and Deputy Chief of Staff, R. M. at the 77th ARCOM at Ft. Totten, NY. In addition to his work with the Friends of CSI, he has been involved in a number of civic organizations, including being a member of the Board of Directors at the Staten Island Mental Health Society, and past president of the 77th ARCOM Officers Association. He is married to Theresa; they have 3 children and 4 grandchildren.
The Friends of CSI is an association of community members dedicated to helping the College of Staten Island realize its goals and educational mission. For over 35 years their events have been instrumental in developing relationships and strengthening support for CSI.
“Our mission has always been to explore ways to acquaint our Staten Island community with the life-enriching educational and cultural resources that CSI has to offer,” Dr. Cea said.
Tickets for the event are $60 per person ($30 of which is tax-deductible) and will help to support student scholarships and programs. Reservations are suggested and should be made by calling the CSI Advancement Office by Tuesday, April 1 at 718.982.2365.