A special event at SUNY Plattsburgh, honoring the life of Dr. Vladimir Munk.
Munk, a holocaust survivor, passed away last month at the age of 98. He spent more than two decades as a professor of biochemistry at Plattsburgh State. But, his teaching didn’t stop there. Post-retirement, he spent another 20-plus years sharing his experience as a holocaust survivor.
When he was 95, he returned to Auschwitz for a special documentary.
Munk was nothing short of a fixture at Plattsburgh State.
“The college was his home for teaching for twenty plus years. He came here in 1968, and I believe retired in 1991. The college wanted to honor him, said Bruce Carlin, TV Studio Manager/Engineer at PSU.
Julie Canepa is a filmmaker and author, and was a close friend of Munk’s. “I think it became really important for him to tell his story. He had kept his story under wraps the whole time he was a teacher. And, I think, as you said, it was sort of a shift in teaching, and bringing that awareness to students going forward,” said Canepa.
The first part of Wednesday’s special event, held at the Skopp Gallery, included a chat with Canepa. She also read a few passages from her new novel about Munk’s life, called The Missing Star.
“I realized that in our conversations, he had told us a lot of other stories that were not, we were not going to be able to fit into a 56-minute documentary. And, they were stories that really needed to be told,” said Canepa.
A special screening of the documentary, Return to Auschwitz – The Survival of Vladimir Munk, also played.
“A couple years ago we did this, and at the time didn’t really think that genocide and antisemitism and all these things would be such front-page news as they are today,” said Carlin.
The film is a powerful account of the holocaust, and part of Munk’s story that still resonates.
“It is my sincere hope that Dr. Munks memory inspires us all to insist on, and strive for a more safer, a more equitable, a more peaceful world,” said SUNY Plattsburgh President, Alexander Enyedi.