I Witnessed History: Hank Greenspan

The Virginia Holocaust Museum’s I Witnessed History program gives Museum visitors a unique opportunity to hear first-hand about the life experiences of extraordinary individuals who lived through difficult periods of history. Each session will include a lecture followed by a question and answer session during which visitors can interact with our special guests and learn more by asking questions.

Hank Greenspan, a psychologist and playwright at the University of Michigan, has been interviewing, teaching, and writing about a group of survivors that he has known since the 1970s. He will discuss what one learns through deepening conversation and sustained acquaintance that rarely arises in single “testimonies.”

I Witnessed History programs are free and open to the public but registration is strongly encouraged.

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The Choral Synagogue Auditorium

Labeled one of the most beautiful synagogues in the Jewish world on the eve of the Holocaust, the Chore Shul (Yiddish for Choral Synagogue) of Kovno certainly was a gem of synagogue architecture. Dedicated in 1871, its name “chore” places the synagogue as a superb example of the large “choral synagogue” tradition of the second half of the nineteenth century in Central and Eastern Europe, especially in the Russian Empire.

Jay Ipson, Museum co-founder, Holocaust survivor and Kovno native, opted to copy this architectural treasure in order to offer visitors some idea of the rich Jewish religous and cultural heritage that had existed before the Holocaust. Working with Marc Cohen and Trademark Woodworking, the original building’s plan moved from idea to actuality and now serves as the Museum’s auditorium.

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