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Media Contact: Maddy Elledge
(706) 379-5319, [email protected]

Holocaust Survivor to Speak at Young Harris College as Part of Annual Ragsdale Lecture Series

YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. – Holocaust survivor Ben Walker will deliver Young Harris College’s 2016 Ragsdale Lecture titled “A Survivor’s Story: Ben Walker” on Wednesday, Sept. 21, at 7 p.m. in the Charles Suber Banquet Hall located in the Rollins Campus Center. This program is presented by the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust and is free and open to the public.

Walker was born near Czernowitz, Romania, an area that is now the Ukraine. On Nov. 20, 1940, Romania formally joined the Axis alliance. In 1941, Walker and his family were deported to Transnistria, an occupied territory in northeast Romania where Romanian authorities established several de facto ghettos and two concentration camps. Between 1941 and 1944, German and Romanian authorities murdered or caused the deaths of between 150,000 and 250,000 Romanian and Ukrainian Jews in Transnistria. Walker and his mother were the only members of his family to survive. His father, sister, uncles, and grandparents perished.

After the war, Walker and his mother immigrated to Israel, and Walker served in the Israel Defense Forces. In 1956, Walker joined his mother in Florida where he attended college and met his wife. The couple moved to Atlanta in the late 1960s, and have two daughters and two grandchildren.

The opportunity to hear the first-person account of a Holocaust survivor is often a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The sheer number of people affected during the Holocaust is almost incomprehensible. The ability to bring speakers to audiences in the state is an important aspect of the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust’s support of Holocaust education. By replacing the statistics with personal stories, the survivors and victims are given a voice and it ensures that the Holocaust is never forgotten.

For more information about the event, visit or call (706) 739-5323.

About the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust
The Georgia Commission on the Holocaust is a secular, non-partisan state agency administratively attached to the Secretary of State. The Commission consists of 15 members appointed equally by the Governor, Lt. Governor and Speaker of the House. The Georgia Commission on the Holocaust strives to preserve the memory of the Holocaust and promote public understanding of the history. It ensures that learning how and why the Holocaust happened is an important part of the education of Georgia citizens. It encourages reflection upon the moral questions raised by this unprecedented event and the responsibilities of citizens in a democracy.

About the Ragsdale Lecture Series
The Ragsdale Lecture Series brings national speakers to Young Harris College to discuss relevant governmental and political issues. It was established in 1983 by Mr. and Mrs. H.D. Paris to honor Mrs. Paris’ cousin, Warner B. Ragsdale, a 1917 graduate of Young Harris College who achieved a long and distinguished career in journalism.

After leaving YHC, Ragsdale completed his education at Georgia Institute of Technology. He began his journalism career serving on the staff of newspapers in Atlanta, Jacksonville, Fla., Hendersonville, N.C., Charlotte, N.C., Birmingham, New Orleans and Louisville. He joined the Associated Press in 1924 and became associate editor and political editor for the U.S. News and World Report in 1941. He remained in these roles until his retirement in 1970.

During his career in journalism, Ragsdale covered every national political convention held by the Republican and Democratic parties from 1928 to 1968 and traveled during campaigns with Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman. One of his career highlights was his coverage of the Scopes Evolution Trial in Dayton, Tenn., in 1925.

In 1937, he was honored by the National Headliners Club for “best feature story of the year” for his story about Al Capone and the Purple Gang. He served as a part chairman of the Executive Committee of the Congressional Periodic Press Gallery. At the time of his death in 1986, Ragsdale was engaged in writing “A Century of Presidential Elections, as seen from over the hill and back of the bus.”

About Young Harris College
Young Harris College is a private, baccalaureate degree-granting college located in the beautiful mountains of North Georgia. Founded in 1886 and historically affiliated with The United Methodist Church, Young Harris College educates, inspires and empowers students through the highest quality liberal arts education. The College currently has more than 1,100 students across five divisions—Education, Fine Arts, Humanities, Mathematics and Science, and Social and Behavioral Sciences. The historic campus in Young Harris, Ga., has completed major campus improvements to accommodate the College’s growth. Recent LEED-certified campus improvements include the 121,000-square-foot Rollins Campus Center, new residence facilities, and a 57,000-square-foot recreation and fitness center. The College is an active member of NCAA Division II and remains a fierce competitor in the prestigious Peach Belt Conference. YHC is among fewer than 300 colleges and universities nationwide named to the 2016-2017 list of Colleges of Distinction and is listed as a “Best National Liberal Arts College” by U.S. News & World Report. For more information, visit