The Virginia Plan: William B. Thalhimer & a Rescue from Nazi Germany
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During Hitler's rise to power in the 1930's, Richmond department store founder, William Thalhimer and his family traveled to Germany to visit relatives and business contacts. Thalhimer was deeply disturbed and increasingly alarmed as the anti-Semitism that he and his family witnessed escalated into the violence Brown Shirts and Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass. Thalhimer became determined to aid Jews fleeing from Germany, and he eventually met a representative of Gross Breesen, a German-Jewish agricultural training institute. The mission of Gross Breesen, and eventually Thalhimer, was to train young Jews in agriculture in hopes that the expertise gained would ensure the students' successful emigration from Germany. Thalhimer purchased a farm, Hyde Farmlands, in Burkeville, Virginia to give the students a home in Virginia.
The History Press
: 9781609491710
: The History Press
: 03/18/2011
: Virginia
: American Heritage
: 43 Black And White
: 208
: 6 (w) x 9 (h)
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About the author
Bob Gillette's 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 an MAT, and he studied at the 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, paddling partners for fifty-one years, live in Lynchburg, Virginia. They both were smitten with the Hyde Farmlands story and its people. Together they interviewed several of the surviving students. As Connecticut Yankee transplants, they are both committed to discovering their new "southern Jewish roots." They have three sons, daughters-in-law, four granddaughters, a grand-cat and two grand-dogs.
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