Loyola’s Cuneo Mansion hosts holiday events

Cuneo Mansion and Gardens, Loyola University Chicago‘s property in Vernon Hills, plans to host several holiday-themed events open to the public starting on Black Friday through New Years Eve.

Here’s the story from the Chicago Tribune:

Loyola University Chicago’s Cuneo Mansion and Gardens opens its doors with fun, art, and entertainment for all this holiday season. In addition to the estate’s annual Holiday Light Show, starting on Black Friday, Cuneo will present a performance of the classic Velveteen Rabbit, followed by its first Holiday Open House on Dec. 16, and more.

From Nov. 25 through Dec. 31, Cuneo’s Holiday Light Show invites you to take a drive-through tour of the estate decorated in brightly lit holiday figures, including animals, elves, Santa Claus, and more. The show will be held from 6–10 p.m., Monday through Sunday.

Cuneo will also host a staged adaptation of the family classic, The Velveteen Rabbit by Scott Davidson. This Kirk Players’s beautiful rendition of the beloved children’s book by Margery Williams will be filled with enchantment, song, and audience participation. The Velveteen Rabbit will premiere at Cuneo December 3, with performances scheduled on December 4, 10, and 11, from 2–3 p.m.

On December 16, from 6:30–9 p.m., the Cuneo Mansion and Gardens invites the local community to its first-ever Holiday Open House, held in conjunction with the Holiday Light Show. Community members are encouraged to attend and enjoy the holiday festivities and learn more about the mansion and estate.

“The open house will have visits with Santa Claus in the Great Hall, hot chocolate, cookies, Christmas carolers, craft stations for children, tours of the mansion, door prizes, beer and wine for purchase, and much more,” said Kevin Ginty Cuneo general manager. “Admission to the open house is $5 per person, in addition to the $10 Light Show entrance fee. We, the Loyola community and Cuneo family, hope this event opens its doors to those who have never experienced the mansion and its historic grounds.”

Adding to the holiday spirit, 15 to 20 international crèches from the Loyola University Museum of Art’s (LUMA) annual holiday exhibition, Art and Faith of the Crèche: The Collection of James and Emilia Govan, will be displayed throughout the mansion from November 26 through December 31, 2011. The full exhibition will be shown at LUMA, located at 820 N. Michigan Avenue on Loyola’s Water Tower Campus, from November 19, 2011 through January 15, 2012

For more information on these events, please visit http://www.cuneomansion.org. The Cuneo Mansion and Gardens will also contribute to the Toys for Tots fundraiser throughout the holiday season and visitors to the estate are encouraged bring any canned goods or unwrapped gifts for donation throughout the months of November and December.

– Nick Passarelli

Holocaust survivor speaks at Loyola forum

By Brittany Nelson

Hillel, a Jewish organization for students and faculty at Loyola University Chicago, commemorated Kristallnact  with a guest speaker, Israel Starck, who survived the Holocaust.

Kristallnact, the night of broken glass, is marked in history as the night in which the Nazi regime launched a pogrom on all European Jews. Starck, a Hungarian Jew shared his journey from Kristallnact through four concentration camps as crowd of 65 people listened.

“People like to say concentration camps were like prison. I say prison is like a spa in comparison to a concentration camp,” Starck said.

Starck, 77, relived his tale of survival through short stories and inspiring individuals he met throughout his life during the Holocaust. He lived through two of the most horrifying camps: Auschwitz and Mauthausen.

Starck was just 14 years old when the Nazi’s occupied Hungary. He was sent by train with his family and hundreds of other Jewish people to Auschwitz concentration camp.

“When we arrived I thought to myself, this is where my struggle for survival will truly begin,” he said. “You had to have the will to live in order to survive a place like this.”

During his time at Auschwitz, both his mother and father were murdered and he was separated from both of his sisters until after liberation.

Starck recalls his duration at Mathausen, the second concentration camp he lived in with a few thoughts.

“The guards there were sadists. They would hit you in the head or put a bullet in you just for the fun of it,” Starck said.

Starck saw two more concentration camps and infinitely more deaths in the time before the Allies came to liberate the prisoners in camps all across Europe. Although he survived the genocide of his people, six million others did not.

Alex Colianni, 21, a junior history major at Loyola was at a loss for words after the speaker.

“It was a truly inspirational story,” Colianni said.

Nick Potts, 20, a junior criminal justice major at Loyola agreed with Colianni.

“It was so interesting to get a personal account from the Holocaust rather than to hear the general history lesson we’ve been taught in history classes,” Potts said.

After his story was completed, Starck left the audience with one moving thought.

“You are all the future; you are the future of generations to come and the future of America. Because you are the future, do not forget the past. Do not forget.” Starck said.