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Under Beslenei’s Sky: A Tale of Courage

17 December 2023 @ 9:00 pm - 10:30 pm

In these turbulent times, we find strength in the bonds we share with our friends as well as in our commitment to a mission of education, sharing inspiring stories of bravery and resilience, and eliminating all forms of hatred. The new Talking Memory series represents our unwavering commitment to maintaining meaningful connections with you, our friends from around the world, with the intention of cultivating a shared sense of unity among us. We believe that this series represents a powerful response to current events, while also serving as a profound testament to the strength of civil society today.

For the second programme, we look at the remarkable, unknown heroic story of Beslenei, a small village at the heart of the Caucasus. During the Holocaust, the Circassian-Muslim people of Beslenei adopted orphaned children, some of whom were Jewish, who had fled the siege of Leningrad, putting their entire community at risk.  The webinar will feature opening remarks from Yigal Cohen, CEO of the Ghetto Fighters Museum, followed by guest speakers David Shawgen, research director of the Circassian Museum in Kfar-Kama who will provide an overview of Circassian history and culture and focus on the significant events that unfolded in Beslenei during April 1942; Zoher Thawcho, initiator of the film “A Tale from Beslenei” and founder of the Circassian Museum in Kfar-Kama, who will share clips of his film “A Tale from Beslenei” and discuss the production process of the film, and his perspective on the story that came to life during the film’s creation; and Lana Harshuk, a Circassian-Israeli educator at the Anne Frank high school, who will discuss the intersections of her identity and the history of her people, revealing their impact on her educational philosophy, also explaining how hatred is often a result of ignorance, and how she uses this story to encourage empathy and foster respect for others. There will also be a pre-screening of the documentary film, “A Tale from Beslenei” for all registrants.

This programme is in partnership with the Circassian Historical Museum in Israel, the Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre, Classrooms Without Borders, and the Rabin Chair Forum at George Washington University.

Click here to register.


17 December 2023
9:00 pm - 10:30 pm