Tuesday, May 14, 2024

RVCC Institute of Holocaust and Genocide Studies to Hold Virtual Summer Book Series


WHEN: June 14-August 16
 via Zoom webinars and registration is required
ADMISSION: free of charge and open to the public

The Raritan Valley Community College Institute of Holocaust and Genocide Studies will present a virtual Summer Book Series beginning in June. 

The following programs will feature discussions of extraordinary novels that explore the past:

June 14, 10-11 a.m.

Arthur and Lilly: The Girl and the Holocaust Survivor by Lilly Maier

What do a 75-year-old, Los Angeles-based rocket engineer and an 11-year-old schoolgirl from Austria have in common? Not much at first glance, but Arthur and Lilly influenced each other's lives in a fateful way. In 1939, Arthur's Jewish parents sent their son abroad on a so-called Kindertransport (“children's transport”), hoping to save him from the Holocaust. The separation is a traumatic experience for the 10 year old. Although he is rescued—after traveling from Austria via France to the United States—his family members are murdered by the Nazis and he never sees them again. Sixty-five years later, during a visit to his parents’ former apartment in Vienna, Austria, Arthur Kern meets 11-year-old Lilly Maier. It’s a decisive encounter for both, one that not only shapes Lilly's future, but also leads to Arthur receiving a long-lost legacy from his parents. The book offers a moving tale of two lives that fatefully cross paths, as well as insight into a profound Holocaust story: the rescue of hundreds of Jewish children to America on a Kindertransport.

To register for the June 14 discussion, visit

July 19, 10-11 a.m.

The Underground Library by Jennifer Ryan

Set in World War II in London, The Underground Library shares the story of three women: Juliet Lansdown, Bethnal Green Library’s new deputy librarian, discovers that the library isn't the bustling hub she's expecting. So, she becomes determined to prove herself and breathe life back into the place. Katie Upwood is thrilled to be working at the library, although she's only there until she heads off to university in the fall. But after the death of her beau on the front line and amid tumultuous family strife, she finds herself harboring a life-changing secret. And Sofie Baumann, a young Jewish refugee, who came to London on a domestic service visa only to find herself working as a maid for a man who treats her abominably. So, she escapes to the library when she can, finding friendship in the literary community and aid locating her sister, who is still trying to flee occupied Europe.

To register for the July 19 book discussion, email

August 16, 10-11 a.m.

The House of Eve by Sadeqa Johnson

It’s 1950s Philadelphia, and 15-year-old Ruby Pearsall is on track to become the first in her family to attend college. But a taboo love affair threatens to pull her back into poverty and desperation. Eleanor Quarles arrives in Washington, DC, with ambition and secrets. When she meets the handsome William Pride at Howard University, they fall madly in love. But William hails from one of DC’s elite, wealthy Black families, and his parents don’t let just anyone into their fold. Eleanor hopes that a baby will make her feel at home in William’s family and grant her the life she’s been wanting. But having a baby—and fitting in—is easier said than done. With their stories colliding in the most unexpected of ways, Ruby and Eleanor will both make decisions that shape the trajectory of their lives.

To register for the August 16 book discussion, email

For additional information about the Summer Book Series, contact Program Specialist Michelle Edgar at The Summer Book Series is co-sponsored by the Jewish Federation of West-Central New Jersey

RVCC is located at 118 Lamington Road in Branchburg, NJ. For further information, visit