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The scenes on this field would have cured anybody of war.
 —William Tecumseh Sherman

Relief was the initial reaction Lester Tenney felt when American and Filipino troops were ordered to surrender to the Japanese. He was already wounded and suffering from malaria and dysentery. But that feeling didn’t last for long. In 1942, Tenney—a 21-year-old staff sergeant–was one of the 12,000 American and 63,000 Filipino prisoners of war forced by the Japanese army to march 80 miles inland from the Bataan Peninsula to Camp O’Donnell in the Philippines in what would come to be known as the Bataan Death March, one of the worst atrocities of World War II.

Tenney will discuss his experiences as a World War II soldier and prisoner of war during a talk at the San Diego State University Library on November 7. The lecture is free and takes place in Room LL430 from 3:00 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. Light refreshments will be served following the lecture.

During the five-day march, around 7,000 to 10,000 men died of thirst, disease, exhaustion, or were shot or bayoneted by the Japanese guards. But Tenney’s nightmare didn’t end at Camp O’Donnell. Along with thousands of fellow POWs, he was shipped to Japan, where he was forced to work 12-hour days in a coal mine owned by Mitsui & Co., one of Japan’s largest conglomerates.

After the war, Tenney returned to school and earned a Ph.D. in business from the University of Southern California. He taught insurance and finance at Arizona State and San Diego State, retiring in 1993. Tenney has even made peace with the Japanese through his association with his son’s friend, a Japanese exchange student.

I really encourage you to watch the videos below and get a preview of Mr. Tenney’s story in his own words. Likewise, I hope you’ll attend his lecture on November 7 and hear more of it.



Members of the library’s Comic Arts Committee are at San Diego Comic Fest today through Sunday, video recording more oral histories of the early Comic-Con organizers and participants for the library’s oral history project, “Comic-Con Kids: Finding and Defining Fandom.” Yesterday was set up day at the Town & Country Resort and Convention Center. Below are some photos of a few of our staff, faculty, students, and volunteers setting up the lights, sound, and camera equipment in the interview room.

comic fest

Waiting to unload the lighting equipment truck.

comic fest

One of the cool things about this project is that SDSU students are receiving real-world experience working with film/video production professionals.

Comic Fest

Setting up the lighting and camera equipment in the interview room.

Comic Fest

How do you know your lighting arrangement and camera angle are going to work? You get a patient soul to sit in for the interviewee while you test and make adjustments!

Many thanks to the California Council for the Humanities for the grant that’s making this exciting project possible!

Circulation Department decorated for Halloween
Yep, Halloween is getting closer!

Coffee Cup graphicIt’s no longer a secret…soon, the rich, aromatic scent of fresh-brewed coffee will be wafting throughout the library’s 24/7 Study Area. Beginning November 21, Peabody’s will be serving piping hot java and sweet snacks from a cart located outside the 24/7’s storage closet. (Coffee and food cannot be consumed while using library computers, though!)

However, in order to have the perks of an in-house coffee shop, things are going to have to get messy for a while. Plumbing needs to be installed, and since we’re tearing up the floor and working on the plumbing anyway, we’re planning to update the restrooms in the 24/7 Study Area by installing new automated air hand dryers and faucets.

Beginning on Monday, October 15, the restrooms will be closed for two weeks. If you’re studying in the 24/7 Study after the rest of the library has closed, you’ll need to wait for a security guard to escort you to the 1st floor restroom.

During construction for the coffee cart, only the area outside of the storage closet will be closed. The remainder of the 24/7 Study Area will be open, except for the scheduled restroom closures.

Survival in Sarajevo ExhibitTwenty years ago this year, the Bosnian-Serb siege of Sarajevo began. Lasting from 1992 through 1996, it is among the longest in modern history. With electricity, water, and food supplies cut off, Sarajevans had to learn to depend on each other. As the siege raged, a group of Holocaust survivors and their offspring turned a synagogue into one of the most effective humanitarian aid agencies operating inside a war zone. This agency, La Benevolencija, brought together Jews and Muslims, Serbian Orthodox and Catholic Croats—people from different ethnic groups who worked together for the benefit of all.

In remembrance and celebration of this anniversary, the Jewish Studies Program and the Department of Religious Studies are presenting “Survival in Sarajevo: Jews, Muslims, Serbs and Croats Working Together During the Bosnian War.” The exhibit, which is based on the book by Edward Serotta, will run in the SDSU Library’s Reference Services Area through November 6, 2012.

Survival in Sarajevo ExhibitThe exhibit features 10 aluminum-framed panels that contain images and text on both sides. The history of Jews in the Balkans is covered first, and their story is told through maps, old postcards, and archival photographs. Photographs of the Bosnian war were taken by Edward Serotta, who covered the conflict for Time Magazine, Die Zeitland, and Süddeutsche Zeitung and eventually published them in a book, Survival in Sarajevo. Other panels illustrate how the city survived during the shelling.

For more information about the exhibit and the Initiative for Moral Courage Symposium, please visit the symposium’s Website. Additional photos of the exhibit can be viewed on the library’s Flickr photostream. The exhibit is open during regular library hours.

Flickr Photos

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