Samuel and Dorothy Frankel Lecture Series on Jewish Life presents
"The Virginia Plan: William B. Thalhimer and a Rescue from Nazi Germany"
Robert "Bob" Gillette '59 P'84
Introduction by Magda Teter, Jeremy Zwelling Professor of Jewish Studies and professor of history
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
6:30 p.m. reception
7 p.m. lecture
Warne Ballroom at
The Cosmos Club
*Guests are to be properly attired at all times within the Clubhouse—coats and ties for men, and dresses, suits, or clothing of comparable formality for women. No denim.
Among the Jews attempting to flee Nazi Germany in the 1930s were students of the Gross Breesen agricultural institute who hoped to secure visas to America. In a bold plan, Richmond department store owner William B. Thalhimer created a safe haven for the students on a Burkeville farm. This is the remarkable history of Thalhimer's heroic rescue mission and the struggle of the refugees to make a new home in rural America. In his book, The Virginia Plan
, Robert H. Gillette narrates a saga of sacrifice, survival, and hope on two continents.
Robert “Bob” Gillette’s '59 P'84
entire professional career revolved around young people. For forty years, he was a public school educator. He was nationally recognized for his high school program OTO, Opportunities to Teach Ourselves, in Fairfield, Connecticut. For his innovations in experiential education, he was awarded the Mary Gresham Chair, a $300,000 grant by the New England Program of Teacher Education and the Department of Commerce. He has spoken and consulted nationally on educational topics. Simultaneously, he directed religious education programs and created curricula in Jewish education. He is a graduate of Wesleyan University, earning a BA and a MAT, and studied at Hebrew Union College, the Reform Jewish rabbinical seminary. An avid canoe and kayak paddler, his first book, Paddling Prince Edward Island
, a Falcon Guide, was published in 2006.
Bob and his wife, Marsha, who spent many weekends on the Wesleyan campus in the late 1950s, are paddling partners for fifty-three years. Though Connecticut yankees at heart, they live in Lynchburg, Virginia.
This event is part of the Samuel and Dorothy Frankel Lecture Series on Jewish Life and is sponsored by Emil Frankel '61.