author and orlando sentinel columnist greg dawson to speak at valencia

Greg Dawson, author of the newly published book “Hiding in the Spotlight” will speak at Valencia Community College’s East Campus Performing Arts Center on Thursday, Feb. 18 at 1 p.m. 

Dawson, a popular Orlando Sentinel consumer columnist, wrote the book that recounts the story of his mother’s extraordinary survival of the Holocaust. She was a 14-year-old musical prodigy when the Nazis invaded Ukraine in January 1942 and set out to murder Jews by marching them to their execution.  Just over a mile from the ravine where the Nazis would gun down her family and thousands of others, her father bribed a guard with a gold watch—persuading him to look the other way while she escaped.    

The title of the book refers to how his mother Zhanna (pronounced Zsa-nah), and her sister Frina, who also escaped the massacre at Drobitsky Yar, spent the rest of the war hiding their Jewish identities.  They were forced to showcase their musical talents for the occupying Germans.  After the war, Zhanna moved to the U.S., studied music at Juilliard, and became a professor of music at Indiana University.    

Dawson has been a journalist for 43 years in a variety of writing positions.  He was 20 years old before he knew he was Jewish and 50 before he knew the full story of his mother’s plight during the war.  

The research and writing of “Hiding in the Spotlight” spanned eight years and took him and his wife Candy to Ukraine and Israel.  A video they made while traveling to the Ukraine and his mother’s hometown will also be shown during the lecture.  “Hiding in the Spotlight” is being acclaimed for its contribution to the history of the Holocaust in Ukraine. 

The lecture at Valencia is free and open to the public. A book signing and reception will follow.  The East Campus Performing Arts Center is located at 701 N. Econlockhatchee Trail in Orlando.

 Source: Marketing and Media Relations, Valencia Community College, 407-582-1016
(News and Information, January 28, 2010)