The Concert & Premiere of Henny: A Legacy of Hope

Thursday, February 29, 2024
7:30 PM

Garde Arts Center
325 State St.
New London, CT

As a special addition to the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra’s 77th season, the ECSO, led by Music Director & Conductor Toshiyuki Shimada, will give a performance of Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy along with the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Chorus, The Anglican Singers, and pianist and Steinway Artist, Eva Virsik.

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“Henny: A Legacy of Hope” celebrates the life of Colchester farmer Henny Simon, a native of Hannover, Germany and survivor of the Holocaust.  For much of her life she didn’t speak about her horrible experiences until in her 80s.  As she saw Holocaust denial and antisemitism on the rise, and hateful speech becoming more common, she decided to speak out.

Speaking to students and adults in Colchester, throughout Connecticut and in her native Hannover, Germany, she tried to connect her Holocaust story with current events for younger generations.  When she met Ben Cooper, a veteran of WWII who had fought through France into Germany and liberated the Dachau concentration camp, they started to speak together and fell in love. Henny succeeded in making several generations understand the need and responsibility to fight hatred, intolerance, revisionist history and assaults on human rights.

Co-Director and Producer Jerry Fischer has produced three films including the feature-length documentary Harvesting Stones: The Jewish Farmers of Eastern Connecticut, broadcast on CPTV. He served 35 years as the Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Eastern CT.

“Henny was a friend and an inspiration. I want this film to honor her memory and tell her story. It’s a story very relevant to today’s world and to our future.”
— Jerry Fischer, Co-Director / Producer

Co-Director / Cinematographer Todd Gipstein has been a National Geographic photographer and filmmaker, writer and producer of dozens of award-winning documentaries. A graduate of Harvard University, he has worked with National Geographic since 1987 and has served as the Society’s Director of Multi-Image and Executive Producer for Multimedia.

“I want to make a film unlike anything anyone has ever seen. A film that transports viewers into a story that is at times a nightmare and at times a hopeful dream.”
— Todd Gipstein, Co-Director / Editor

Co-producer Andreas Mink has been the editor of the American German-Jewish publication Aufbau since 1997.  He has written for numerous publications in Germany and Switzerland, as well as the German edition of the British Financial Times Arts and Culture section.

“Henny: A Legacy of Hope” was made possible by a generous grant from the Connecticut Humanities Council and the Rabbi Israel Miller Fund for Shoah Research, Education and Documentation of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, and numerous individual and organizational donors throughout the US and Europe.

*Purchase a ticket in our VIP section and a portion of the proceeds will go directly to the funding of Henny: A Legacy of Hope. $125 tickets include a $49 tax-deductible donation and will include acknowledgment in the evening’s printed program and on the film’s website.

The Program


Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13
(the Sonata Pathétique) performed by Emanuel Ax


Three Piano Pieces, Op. 11, performed by Emanuel Ax


Choral Fantasy, Op. 80, performed by the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra, piano soloist and Steinway Artist, Eva Virsik, the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Chorus, and The Anglican Singers

Jerry Fischer & Todd Gipstein

Movie Premiere of Henny: A Legacy of Hope

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