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Institute Against Hate to Honor Lassman Oct. 13

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The Gonzaga Institute for Action Against Hate will honor Holocaust survivor Eva Lassman at its annual “Take Action Against Hate Dinner” at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 13 in the Cataldo Hall Globe Room on the Gonzaga University campus. Cost is $50 per person, $400 for a table of eight or $500 for a corporate sponsorship. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Institute. For more information, to buy tickets or to become a sponsor, visit the organization’s Web site, call (509) 313-3665 or contact the Institute via e-mail.

At the dinner, Lassman will receive the inaugural Eva Lassman Award, which will be issued annually to honor an individual who has committed her or his life to challenge hate wherever it rears its ugly head. Doors open at 6 p.m., followed by dinner (6:30 p.m.) and the formal program at 7 p.m.

Nearly all of her immediate and extended family lost their lives in the Holocaust of 1939-1945. Though in poor health, Lassman survived and recovered from her more than five years in Nazi ghettoes and camps. She then spent four more years in a displaced persons camp in Germany before being sponsored by the Spokane Jewish community for resettlement in Spokane.

Since coming to Spokane, Eva and her husband (whom she met in the displaced persons camp) raised three sons who have gone on to become outstanding regional and international leaders. Eva has dedicated most of her adult life to the “obligation” that comes with her survival – giving testimony to the atrocities through which she endured. With a gracious and committed spirit, she has told her story to thousands of elementary, junior high, and high school students throughout the region.

Despite her experiences during World War II, Eva has not surrendered to hate. As her son, Richard Lassman, has written, “She has certainly had reason to hate but she decided long ago that it wasn’t worth it. . . . In her talks about the Holocaust to young and old alike, she doesn’t emphasize what was done to her; instead she stresses the need to eliminate hatred from the world.”

The YWCA awarded Eva the prestigious Carl Maxey Racial Justice Award for eliminating racism and empowering women on Oct. 30, 2006. Gonzaga honored her in 2002 with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree for her efforts to fight hate; Whitworth College also honored Lassman the same year.

The public is cordially invited to celebrate the life of Lassman who settled in Spokane after World War II and has since committed her life to fighting for justice and challenging hate. Corporate sponsorships, which cost only $100 more than buying a table for eight, will receive their organization’s logo on the Institute’s Web site with a link to each sponsor’s Web site, their organization’s name printed in the program announcement, and recognition during the program.

Thanks to the support it has received, the Institute has been able to accomplish the following projects:

  • Establish the first Hate and Conflict Studies Certificate in the nation;
  • Sponsor the upcoming International Conference on Hate Studies (2011);
  • Award research grants to two people studying hate; and
  • Continue to publish its Journal of Hate Studies.

Previous Events Sponsored by the Institute include:

The West Corporation and Woman Health Spokane are the first corporate sponsors of the event.

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