Millikin Welcomes Holocaust Survivor Sami Steigmann for 2023 Ewing Lecture

Holocaust Survivor Sami Steigmann to present Thomas W. Ewing Lecture on Jan. 31

Sami Steigmann

Millikin University is pleased to welcome Holocaust Survivor Sami Steigmann for a community-wide educational presentation on Tuesday, Jan. 31 at 7:30 p.m. in the Bob and Debi Johnson Banquet Rooms located on the third floor of the University Commons on Millikin’s campus. 

Made possible by the Thomas W. Ewing Lecture Fund, Sami Steigmann’s presentation is titled “Holocaust: My Story of Resilience.” This event is free and open to the public.

As a Holocaust Survivor who lives to tell his invaluable experiences, Steigmann shares his fresh perspective on hope, life, faith and how he was able to transform himself from a victim into a speaker and agent for social action. Steigmann is dedicated to reaching as many young people as possible to promote tolerance and in hopes that they will make it a better world for themselves, their children and their grandchildren.

Born on December 21, 1939, to parents Nathan and Reghina, Steigmann was held from 1941 to 1944 in a region now known as Ukraine at the Mogilev-Podolsky labor camp. According to records, his parents declared him too young for work, resulting in Steigmann being subject to Nazi medical experimentation. Steigmann remarked that his parents did not offer specifics about the experimentation he underwent, as the memories were too painful to them. 

After their liberation, Steigmann’s family emigrated in 1961 to Israel, and soon after, he would go on to serve in the Israeli Air Force. It was in 1968 that Steigmann came to the United States by himself, without money or a fluency in the language. Though he lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for several years, he returned to Israel for a few years before returning to the United States in New York as his permanent residence. 

Steigmann received a small financial settlement due to the medical experimentation he underwent as a young child, but the courts acknowledged that no amount could make reparations for his experiences. The settlement was made “as a symbolic acknowledgement of the injustices.”

During adulthood, Steigmann experienced a sense of isolation, as he did not know of anyone who shared his same experiences during the Holocaust or World War II. For several years, he felt that he did not belong to the adults who had been liberated, nor the children of the Holocaust Survivors who had survived. However, in November 2003, Steigmann, along with 8,000 survivors, their children and liberators, were invited to attend the Holocaust Museum located in Washington, D.C., which had been closed to the public for the event. 

Ultimately, Steigmann wishes to honor the 35 paternal family members murdered by Nazis, including his Uncle Max, along with his maternal family members and all other victims who perished in the Holocaust. 

Thomas W. Ewing Lecture

The Thomas W. Ewing Lectureship was created by Millikin University and Congressman Ewing’s colleagues in recognition of his many years of public service. Ewing, a 1957 Millikin Graduate, retired in 2001 after serving nine years in the U.S. House of Representatives from the 15th District of Illinois. Ewing served 17 years in the Illinois House of Representatives, where he was assistant Republican leader from 1982 to 1990 and was named deputy minor leader in 1990. 

This year’s Thomas W. Ewing Lecture will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 31 at 7:30 p.m. in the Bob and Debi Johnson Banquet Rooms located on the third floor of the University Commons on Millikin’s campus.