Remembering Vilna: The Jerusalem of Lithuania

Event time: 
Wednesday, February 7, 2024 - 5:30pm to 7:00pm
Henry R. Luce Hall (LUCE ), 203 See map
34 Hillhouse Avenue
New Haven, CT 06511
Event description: 

The REEES Program at Yale, YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, and the Yale Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies present “Remembering Vilna: The Jerusalem of Lithuania.”

“Remembering Vilna: The Jerusalem of Lithuania” is the third season of the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies’ podcast “Those Who Were There: Voices from the Holocaust.” This latest season is a ten-episode audio documentary that was produced in collaboration with the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York. “Remembering Vilna” tells the story of the destruction of the Jewish community of Vilna, Poland (present-day Vilnius, Lithuania) through the testimonies of survivors and the diaries of Herman Kruk. It discusses the rise of anti-Semitism between the two world wars, the invasion of Lithuania by the Soviet Union followed by the German occupation, the creation of the ghettos, the massacre of the Jews of Vilna, and the end of the Second World War and its consequences.

About the speakers:

As lead producer of the series Remembering Vilna: the Jerusalem of Lithuania, Nahanni Rous listened to more than 60 testimonies of Vilna-born Holocaust survivors and wove together the stories that make up the tapestry of experiences in this ten-part audio documentary about Jewish life in Vilna leading up to, during and in the immediate aftermath of World War Two. Nahanni also hosts and produces “Can We Talk?,” the podcast of the Jewish Women’s Archive, which explores the intersection of gender and Jewish culture. She is a MacDowell fellow, an amateur cellist, and lives with her family in Washington, DC.

Journalist and author Eric Marcus is co-producer of Those Who Were There, a podcast drawn from Yale University’s Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies, including this third season of the podcast, “Remembering Vilna.” Eric is also the founder and host of the award-winning Making Gay History podcast, which mines his decades-old audio archive of rare interviews to bring LGBTQ history to life through the voices of the people who lived it. Eric is the author and co-author of a dozen books, including, Making Gay History, Is It A Choice?, Why Suicide?, and Breaking the Surface, the #1 New York Times bestselling autobiography of Olympic diving champion Greg Louganis.

Eleanor Reissa, the host of the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimony’s Those Who Were There, is a Tony Award nominated director; a Broadway actress (Indecent); a television and film actress (HBO’s Plot Against America, AMC’s Walking Dead, and the upcoming series Die Zwieflers, for German television.) She is an award-winning playwright, choreographer; and a critically acclaimed singer in English and Yiddish, performing in every major musical venue in New York City and in festivals around the world. Her book, The Letters Project: A Daughter’s Journey was recently published by Post Hill Press.

Samuel Kassow, the Charles H. Northam Professor of History at Trinity College, holds a Ph.D. from Princeton University. He has been a visiting professor at many institutions and was on the team of scholars that planned the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw. Among his various publications is Who will Write our History: Emanuel Ringelblum and the Secret Ghetto Archive (Indiana, 2007), which received the Orbis Prize of the AAASS, the Damals Prize in Germany for the best monograph of the year, and which was a finalist for a National Jewish Book Award. It has been translated into eight languages. He is on the team of scholars chosen by Yad Vashem to write a one volume history of the Holocaust in Poland. Professor Kassow’s translation of Rachel Auerbach’s Warsaw ghetto memoirs will be published next year by the National Yiddish Book Center.