Cincinnatians can hear the stories of Holocaust survivors and their family members every first Sunday of each month this year.
The new series comes as the Holocaust & Humanity Center embarks on its 20th year, coinciding with the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II (Sept. 2, 1945). 2020 also marks the Center's second year of calling Union Terminal home.
Local survivor Vera Gutin kicked off the series earlier this month. Her story was told by her daughter, Barbara McCoucha. Gutin's earliest memories unfolded in her hometown of Trier, Germany during the 1938 events of Kristallnacht — "The Night of Broken Glass," in which German Nazis burned and vandalized Jewish-owned businesses, homes, schools and synagogues. Gutin's family moved to Luxembourg in the wake of the violence, eventually relocating to France, where she would stay out of harm's way by passing as a French child with the help of the French Resistance.
The inaugural event saw an estimated 200 people participate in the lecture and post-lecture tour, according to Marketing and Communications Manager Kara Driscoll.
In a statement, Sarah Weiss, chief executive officer of HHC, says she hopes to see the Cincinnati community take advantage of the series, which is sponsored by Margaret and Michael Valentine.
“These stories showcase the power of the human spirit and resilience,” Weiss says. “We are privileged to be the last generation to hear directly from eyewitnesses of the Holocaust, and it is our responsibility to hear and carry on these memories.”
Lectures start at 1 p.m. and are included with the price of museum admission. Following the lecture, there are guided tours through the HHC beginning at 2 p.m.
Upcoming events in the series will hone in on themes like "Women in the Holocaust" and "Upstanders in the Holocaust and Today's World."
One of the speakers, Cheryl Hecht, will share the story of her father, David Hochstein, who survived the Holocaust through Kindertransport to Great Britain.
“I am still amazed by my father's resilience, perseverance, and strength," Hecht says in a statement, adding that she is proud to share his story of how the Holocaust changed his life as part of the series.
The next lecture in the First Sunday Series is March 1. Museum admission is $10 for adults, $5 for students and $7.50 for military, seniors and Cincinnati Museum Center members. More info: holocaustandhumanity.org.