A female student wipes her eyes as the images of Holocaust victims move across the screen. A present-day image of Moshe Baran's appears as he explains his escape from the ghetto he was forced into as a young Jewish boy.
"I'm here to tell you my story. But my story is part of a larger story. It is the story of Jewish people," Baran said to the gathering.
Baran was invited to the HUB-Robeson Center to speak. on Tuesday about his survival of the Holocaust.
The event was sponsored by the Center for Ethics and Religious Affairs, the Presidential Leadership Academy, Jewish Studies, and Hillel in honor of Yom Hashoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day.
"I wanted to bring in a speaker to talk," Sarah Dafilou (freshman-biochemistry and molecular biology, and Jewish studies) said.
Dafilou, the Holocaust Education Chair for Hillel, said she was very pleased with the night's turn out. She said she organized the event by "contacting the Pittsburgh Federation," who recommended Baran.
"Coming out to this event educates people on what happened and they can take it, and if they should see something happening -- hopefully not -- such as discrimination, they'll know to stop it," Dalifou said.
The event lasted approximately two hours, with Baran sharing his life in the ghetto and on a resistance group that fought back against the Germans.
For thirty minutes of the talk, Baran showed a documentary film of he and his wife telling their experiences of the Holocaust.
"What's important is a large number of young people responded to the call to come," Baran said.
So many people attended that organizers had to find additional chairs, filling the space and yet still leaving people standing along the edges of the room.
"I think it is very important to hear these stories and learn from them and pass them on," attendee Anna McAloon (freshman-elementary education) said.
Baran's talk opened with a brief history of Judaism, starting with Abraham and moving through history, leading to Baran explaining how prejudice towards Jewish people unfolded.
Baran also elaborated on how he lived in a ghetto in Poland, from which he escaped and joined the partisan effort, managing to help his family out of the ghetto just before all the people in it were killed.
"This was an incredibly inspiring lesson," Aaron Kaufman, the director of Hillel, said.
Baran's and his wife both had stories to tell, punctuated by the pictures of the Holocaust on the documentary. The event is not the last that Hillel will hold Kaufman said, as they hope to host similar speakers next year.
"One of the reasons I believe my survival is not just for myself, is it has a purpose," Baran said. "The purpose is for other people to learn from it."