Holocaust Survivor and author, Alter Wiener, is coming to speak at Tulen Center on Wednesday, February 12th from 6:30 – 8:00PM. Recently, I was asked what a connection I see between martial arts training and the life lessons and stories of someone who survived three years in concentration camps. The connection was intuitive for me, but I thought, “What a great question!”
When I teach self-defense classes to women and kids, part of my job, as I see it, is to instill a sense of self-confidence and empowerment. There are many things we cannot control, but we can take charge of the things within our grasp. We can stand up for ourselves and for others, we can make choices that are in our best interest, we can serve others and make a difference. In the martial art I train, Poekoelan Tjimindie Tulen, we practice compassion and taking care of one another. It’s what all the kids, teens and adults in my school, and Tulen practitioners around the world, embrace along the way to black belt.
Often, the women in my self-defense classes have suffered rape, assault, child sexual abuse, you name it. Some of the kids come in with stories that make your skin crawl. In coming to Tulen Center’s self-defense workshops and martial arts classes, they are making a choice to stand up for themselves. In speaking out and sharing their stories, they are embracing their strength and potential and making the world a better place. Women, and children too, often choose the journey from victimization to self-actualization. It is a brave choice and I am always honored to be part of it.
I am fascinated by Mr. Wiener’s capacity to take an absolutely horrible, achingly painful experience and turn it into forgiveness and compassion. He is an example of this journey from victimization to healing. He has chosen to move beyond the anger and victimization into a place of strength and love. He is using his voice to help make the world a better place. I cannot wait to hear him speak and I know our students will be inspired by his life story as they make their way along their own path.
If you would like to come hear Mr. Wiener speak, the event is free, but we ask that you register as we have limited space. Register here.
Mr. Wiener will have copies of his book for sale for $20 each. He will sign them for you. He requests check or cash.
For more information about Alter Wiener and his book, “From a Name to a Number”, here are some links:
From the Amazon Page: Alter Wiener’s father was brutally murdered on September 11, 1939 by the German invaders of Poland. Alter was then a boy of 13. At the age of 15 he was deported to Blechhammer, a Forced Labor Camp for Jews, in Germany. He survived five camps. Upon liberation by the Russian Army on May 9, 1945, Alter weighed 80 lbs as reflected on the book’s cover. Alter Wiener is one of the very few Holocaust survivors still living in Portland, Oregon. He moved to Oregon in 2000 and since then he has shared his life story with over 700 audiences (as of June, 2011) in universities, colleges, middle and high schools, Churches, Synagogues, prisons, clubs, etc. He has also been interviewed by radio and TV stations as well as the press. Wiener’s autobiography is a testimony to an unfolding tragedy taking place in WWII. Its message illustrates what prejudice may lead to and how tolerance is imperative. This book is not just Wiener’s life story but it reveals many responses to his story. Hopefully, it will enable many readers to truly understand such levels of horror and a chance to empathize with the unique plight of the Holocaust victims. Feel free to visit my website www.alterwiener.com for more information including links.
One of Mr. Wiener’s friends, and local children’s author, Trudy Ludwig, has written a biography about Alter for kids. The book will be published in April. Click here to follow the link to her book.