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Recounting his personal experiences from the Holocaust, Israeli writer Aharon Applefield intrigued nearly 100 students with anecdotes about his ordeals at a speech Monday night. Applefield, a prolific Jewish author, detailed his assimilated upbringing in the Austro-Hungarian Empire explaining how the Holocaust affected his life. "The sudden Holocaust thrust us into the depths of suffering," Applefield said. He said that the pain of the Holocaust was harshest for assimilated Jews in Europe citing not only physical torture, but destruction of their beliefs. Two years after the Russians liberated Eastern Europe from Nazi control, Applefield emigrated to Israel where he and his peers tried to ignore their experiences. Applefield said that he sees many similarities between pre-Holocaust European Jewry and current American Jewry. "History is repeating itself in such a banal way," he said. "But let's hope it repeats in a good form." Applefield said that today the Jewish soul no longer exists, which he called a "vicious victory for Hitler." The author added that he always had a desire to express his feelings so he turned to literature, "to open the darkness and callousness in me . . . to say something of my experience." After the speech Chaim Potok, a Jewish writer and Philadelphia resident, said that "there is a tendency on the part of Israelis to see the American world in black and white." Despite his difference of opinion, Potok said that he found Applefield's narration "very profound and moving". College and Wharton junior Rachel Schuldiner, who organized the speech, said that she also found the speech moving but said that Applefield "hedged a lot of questions."

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