Virtual Event: Hiding in the Spotlight

The Holocaust Survival Story of Zhanna Arshanskaya

NOTE:  The first 30 classroom teachers to register and attend will receive a $60.00 stipend and a copy of Hiding in the Spotlight by Greg Dawson.  Because the program will be in the virtual format, teachers will be required to attend a 90 minute webinar and then complete a sample lesson plan. Once turned in and reviewed, the stipend will be mailed.

Registration is required.  The link will be sent the day before the program.

The Holocaust Center will host a special teacher professional development event assisting teachers with strategies for using biographies in the classroom. Musical and artistic sources from the period will enrich the afternoon’s activities.   The session will also feature opportunities for teachers to interact with one another to learn history through personal stories and to bring them to their students.

We are proud to feature local writer Greg Dawson as our speaker. He will share the harrowing story of how his mother survived the Holocaust.  Greg is the author of Hiding in the Spotlight: A Musical Prodigy’s Story of Survival 1941-1946.  Zhanna Arshanskaya, Greg’s mom, was a gifted child musician who had been offered a scholarship to the Moscow State Conservatory. Her life changed dramatically in 1941 when Germany invaded the Soviet Union and began rounding up Jewish families. Thanks to her father’s cunning, Zhanna and her sister Frina escaped and fled to the countryside, hiding and surviving as best they could until they eventually found shelter in an orphanage.

The sisters’ musical talent was discovered by the occupying forces. With new names and non-Jewish identities, they ended up performing for the unsuspecting Nazis. After the war, without family or resources, the girls were sent to a displaced persons camp. At the urging of the camp’s director, in 1946 they emigrated to New York and enrolled at Juilliard on scholarships.

While researching the book, Greg traveled to Ukraine to study his family’s past. He was shocked to find his mother’s name on a memorial at Drobitsky Yar, a moment he describes as one when he realized how close he had come to non-existence. With brief selections from his mother’s own writing, Dawson’s book tells a captivating story of life, music, survival, and triumph of the spirit against incredible odds.


Greg Dawson was a print journalist for nearly 50 years, starting at 17 when he was in high school. He was a columnist, TV critic and consumer advocate for a host of publications including the Boston Herald, Orlando Sentinel and Indianapolis Star. He has published two books on the Holocaust and a third, co-authored with his wife Candy, on coming of age in the 60s. He grew up in Bloomington, Indiana, the son of classical musicians. His first book, Hiding in the Spotlight, told the story of how his mother used her pianistic virtuosity to survive the Holocaust.

Registration is required.  The link will be sent the day before the program.


Apr 26 2020


1:00 pm - 2:30 pm


Holocaust Center
851 N Maitland Avenue Maitland, FL 32751


Holocaust Center
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