GENEVA, N.Y.-Hungarian Charles Turk will speak about his experiences of collectivization in Eastern Europe and its relation to genocide in a talk titled “Bolshevik Genocides” held at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 11, in the Geneva Room of the Warren Hunting Smith Library on the Hobart and William Smith campus. Turk's visit to the Colleges is scheduled as part of the continuing Genocide in the 20th Century lecture series.
From 1945 to 1956, Turk saw firsthand the oppression and persecution of his townspeople as well as his countrymen under the dictatorship of Joseph Stalin and full-fledged Communism. He offers a compelling account of what it was like to exist in a state of constant intimidation, deprivation, deportation, and fear under Stalin's rule.
Turk is the author of My Father's Words, his autobiography, which chronicles Turk's escape from a depressed Communist Hungary in 1956 to a free and prosperous America. Ranging from the personal humiliation and political ostracism of his family for being peasant farmers, to the grand scale of dehumanizing institutions and methods of both Fascism and Communism, My Father's Words gives human faces to the millions of silent victims of 70 years of totalitarian rule in Eastern Europe.
Turk retired in 1998 after 30 years of full-time service in the English Department of McQuaid Jesuit High School, where he served as chairman for 11 years and received the Award of Excellence for Secondary School Teaching from the University of Rochester in 1994. Turk received his bachelor's degree as a triple major in English, philosophy, and history in 1969 from Canisius College, and has served on the Princeton board of readers for Advanced Placement exams since 1988. He currently enjoys retirement teaching part-time and conducting seminars for high school teachers in the preparation of students for the A.P. English exam.
By sponsoring the Genocide lecture series, the Hobart and William Smith community hopes to improve understanding of all life-annihilation processes inherent in our modern world and to help participants learn more about the circumstances under which life-destruction processes tend to focus on specific groups in events known as genocide. The discussion series features numerous speakers, as well as faculty-student reading groups and special seminars.
For more information on the series, visit www.hws.edu/new/GenocideSymp/index.html.