Author Martin Goldsmith will discuss his book, Alex's Wake: A Voyage of Betrayal and a Journey of Remembrance, Tuesday, April 14, at 7:30 p.m. in the Gallery Theatre (Room 301) of the Elaine Langone Center at Bucknell University.
The talk, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by Campus Jewish Life and Bucknell Hillel as part of the Yom HaShoah/Holocaust Remembrance Observance.
Alex's Wake tells the story of Alex Goldschmidt, a 60-year-old veteran of World War I, and his 17-year-old son Klaus Helmut Goldschmidt, two of more than 900 Jewish refugees fleeing persecution in Nazi Germany aboard the MS St. Louis bound for Cuba.
But after being denied landing rights in Havana, the refugees were turned away by the United States and Canada and forced to sail back to Europe. After their trans-Atlantic voyage, they landed in France, spending the next three years in six different French concentration camps before being shipped to Auschwitz in 1942 where they died.
Goldsmith spent six weeks retracing the steps of his grandfather and uncle, beginning in lower Saxony and covering more than 5,700 miles. Alex's Wake is his eyewitness report that includes testimony from those on board the St. Louis describing the brave resolve of Captain Gustav Schroeder as well as interviews with people he met along the way.
The author is an American radio personality, best known as director of classical music programming at XM Satellite Radio in Washington, D.C. From 1989 to 1999, he served as the host of Performance Today, National Public Radio's daily classical music program, winning the coveted Peabody Award for broadcasting.
He was born in St. Louis and began his radio career at commercial classical station WCLV in Cleveland. A graduate of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, he has sung in the chorus of the Baltimore Opera Company and made a guest appearance with the Washington Opera. He also has acted in many roles in Washington-area theaters, including Arena Stage. In 1998, he was awarded a Cultural Leadership Citation from Yale University "in recognition of service to the cultural life of the nation."
Goldsmith also is the author of The Inextinguishable Symphony: A True Story of Music and Love in Nazi Germany, which relates the story of the Jewish performing arts ensemble maintained by the Nazis between 1933 and 1941, an ensemble that included his parents.