Robert Gillette to open Jewish Book Council’s season on the Peninsula

by | Aug 14, 2016 | What’s Happening

Sunday, September 11, 7 pm,  United Jewish Community of the Virginia Peninsula 

Robert Gillette will speak about his young adult book, Escape to Virginia, in the first event of the Jewish Book Council’s 2016–2017 season.

Escape to Virginia tells the true story of how Richmond department store magnate William Thalhimer helped Jews escape the Holocaust by bringing them to Virginia to live and work on a farm near Burkeville. The story focuses on two teenagers, Eva Jacobsohn and Werner “Töpper” Angress, who after being expelled from school and finding more and more professions closed to them, turned to the Gross Breesen Institute to study agriculture, along with other Jewish students, in the hope of emigrating and finding new lives as farmers.

Even with Thalhimer’s assistance, leaving Germany was not simple and Eva and Töpper experience a number of harrowing events before they end up in Virginia. Gillette tells the story of how these two teenagers eventually triumph over the horrors of their emotional torture and exile to build new lives in America.

Originally from Connecticut, Gillette and his wife Marsha live in Lynchburg, Va. He spent 40 years as a public school educator and is the author of two other books, Paddling Prince Edward Island and The Virginia Plan: William B. Thalhimer and a Rescue From Nazi Germany. Escape to Virginia will be for sale during the event.

Gillette’s appearance is made possible through the Jewish Book Council and is co-sponsored by Temple Sinai and the UJCVP. The program is free and open to all. UJCVP is located at 401 City Center Blvd. in Newport News. For more information, call 757-930-1422.