Albion College Remembers Story, Legacy of Miriam Winter

Miriam Winter, history professor Geoffrey Cocks, and President Donna Randall at 2009 Commencement.
Miriam Winter (left) receives her honorary degree at 2009 Commencement from President Donna Randall. Professor of history Geoffrey Cocks shares in the moment after presenting Winter.

July 23, 2014

Miriam Winter, a child survivor of the Holocaust in Poland who received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from Albion College at 2009 Commencement, passed away July 19. She was 81.

Winter's adoption of a new identity, Maria Orlowski, helped her survive the Holocaust, which she chronicled in Trains: A Memoir of a Hidden Childhood During and After World War II. She settled in Jackson in 1979 after immigrating to the United States ten years earlier and taught at Jackson College for many years.

"Miriam Winter transformed a childhood of threat and tragedy into a life teaching others what it means to be humane," said Albion professor of history Geoffrey Cocks, an expert on Nazi Germany who presented Winter for her honorary degree at Commencement five years ago. "She inspired many at Albion College to think and feel deeply as well as act effectively in defense of those values that make for a humane society. Miriam remains in our hearts and minds forever."

For more on the life of Miriam Winter, visit her obituary on

Learn about Albion College's Holocaust Studies Service-Learning Project in Poland