Wilton Library’s Wilton Reads 2019 kicks off on Wednesday, Feb. 27, with free copies being given away of this year’s book selection, The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris. There are two giveaway sessions scheduled on that day–a morning session from 10 a.m. to noon, and an evening session from 6:30-7:30 p.m., while supplies last.

The books are being provided courtesy of Fairfield County Bank.  GOOD Morning Wilton is proud to be the media sponsor for Wilton Reads.  Pictured above (l-r) is Elaine Tai-Lauria, executive director of Wilton Library; Carol Johnson, VP at Fairfield County Bank and a trustee of the library; and Lauren McLaughlin, assistant director and coordinator of the Wilton Reads event.

This is the 13th season of Wilton Reads welcoming the community to join in an extended community-wide conversation delving deeply into one book and one topic.  Wilton Reads has, for several years, given us an opportunity through fine literature to sharpen our view of ourselves and the world around us. This year’s community-wide read will bring an exploration of the Holocaust through insightful programming and a collaboration with the Wilton Public Schools.

Details of all the library’s programming may be found on the library’s website.  The author will visit the library on April 11.

Wednesday, Feb. 27Book Giveaway10 – noon
Wednesday, Feb. 27Book Giveaway6:30 -7:30 pm
Tuesday, March 5Wilton Clergy/Wi-ACT/WLA Interfaith Lecture: Dr. Fariborz Mokhtari:  This is an Interfaith Clergy-sponsored presentation by Dr. Fariborz Mokhtari, author of In The Lion’s Shadow:  The Iranian Schindler And His Homeland In The Second World War. Dr. Mokhtari will tell us about the efforts of an Iranian diplomat stationed in Paris who was instrumental in protecting numerous Jews from the Holocaust: truly an example of mutual respect, tolerance, and assistance among religious groups in the face of a shared danger7 – 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 16American Legion Centennial Celebration:  James B. Whipple American Legion Post 86 is pleased to be a partner in the Wilton Reads 2019 program. The community is invited to visit the Post (112 Old Ridgefield Rd., next to the Village Market) for a special exhibition that commemorates the centennial anniversary of the founding of the American Legion. Included in the exhibit are artifacts from World War II.  A “100th birthday” cake will be cut and served at 1 p.m.10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Monday, March 25 through Saturday, April 6Holocaust Experience through Film:  Learn more about the Holocaust by viewing educational videos and survivor testimonies. Drop by Wilton Library’s computer training lab anytime during regular hours of operation, or watch at home at your convenience. Wilton Reads 2019 Educational Resources and VideosDuring regular library hours
Tuesday, March 26Wilton Clergy/Wi-ACT/WLA Interfaith Panel: Mutual Respect and Tolerance:  This is the second part of the Wilton Reads Interfaith Clergy program. Following the earlier program presented by Dr. Fariborz Mokhtari, a panel of Wilton clergy will discuss such related topics as mutual respect and tolerance among religious groups. No charge but donations are always welcome. Registration strongly suggested.7 – 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 30In Concert: Igor Pikayzen and Friends:  Renowned violin virtuoso Igor Pikayzen, Adrian Daurov on cello and Imri Talgam on piano will perform a concert of Holocaust-inspired music. The musical selections will include works by composers who perished or lived through the Holocaust. An informal reception follows the concert.7:30 – 9 p.m.
Wednesday, April 3Dr. Michael Nolan:  Holocaust History Lecture:  This talk will attempt to address the developments that culminated in the mass murder of over six million European Jews. In particular, Michael Nolan, Ph.D., Professor, Department of History and Non-Western Cultures, Western Connecticut State University will examine the conditions that made possible the genesis of the ‘Final Solution’ in Germany, which many contemporaries considered to be at the pinnacle of European civilization. A Q& A session will follow the talk.7 – 8:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 4, 11, 18 and 25Spring Poetry with Judson Scruton—Poetry Reflective of the Holocaust:  Judson Scruton leads this 4-part Spring Poetry Seminar Series exploring poetry related to the Holocaust. Poems will come from the anthology Holocaust Poetry compiled by Hilda Schiff, The Poetry of Survival, Post-War Poets of Central and Eastern Europe edited by Daniel Weissbort, poems by W.H. Auden, Stephen Spender, Elie Wiesel, and Yevgeny Yevtushenko will be considered along with powerful poems by lesser-known voices. Poetry packet available at front desk one week before the seminar begins. No charge for the program. Advance registration required.10:30 a.m. – noon
Thursday, April 4The Tattooist of Auschwitz Book Discussion with Susan Boyar:  Professional book discussion leader Susan Boyar discusses our Wilton Reads selection. Beverages will be provided.  No charge. Registration recommended.7 – 8:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 7Holocaust Survivor Talk ‘Zachor – Remember’  Born in Czechoslovakia, Judith Altmann was arrested and transported to the Auschwitz at age 14. She will share her story of survival through extermination camps, slave labor camps, and the ‘death march’ to Bergen-Belsen. Join us to hear her story and message of hope, and most importantly, to remember. Registration strongly recommended.2 – 3:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 7The Art of William Pachner, 1915 – 2017:   Ann Pachner will present a slide show of the arc of the work of her father, the artist William Pachner. In 1915, William Pachner was born a Jew in the area of the Austro-Hungarian Empire that became Czechoslovakia. He came to the United States in 1939 to work as a commercial illustrator, and received news in 1945 that ‘All is lost’—the extermination by the Nazis of his mother, father, brother and 80 other family members. He then spent the next 60 years becoming a painter, imagining the circumstances of his people and that world, and giving us deeply felt images and a record of one person’s efforts to live with this knowledge and loss and finding the courage and will to affirm life. He was an award-winning artist with works in many museums. Ann Pachner is an artist who lives and works in New York City. She has a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design and has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts. She shares her father’s compelling story with the Wilton Reads audience.4 – 5 p.m.
Wednesday, April 10Wilton Library Readers: The Tattooist of Auschwitz  Professional book discussion leader Susan Boyar discusses The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris this month.  Group meets second Wednesday of each month (no meeting in December). Bring lunch; beverages will be provided.12 – 1:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 11Author Visit—Heather Morris—The Tattooist of Auschwitz:  Author Heather Morris’s talk is the culminating event of the library’s thirteenth Wilton Reads town-wide reading program.  Ms. Morris will be presented with the Grodin Family Fine Writers Award before her talk. The Tattooist of Auschwitz is a vivid, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful re-creation of Lale Sokolov’s experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust. The historical fiction based on Lale’s life also is a testament to the endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions. Heather Morris is a native of New Zealand, now residing in Australia. She was introduced to an elderly gentleman who ‘might just have a story worth telling’. The day she met Lale Sokolov changed both their lives. Their friendship grew and Lale embarked on a journey of self-scrutiny, entrusting the innermost details of his life during the Holocaust to her. Q&A will follow the talk. No charge. Registration highly recommended. Books available for purchase and signing courtesy of Elm Street Books, New Canaan. Media Sponsor: GOOD Morning Wilton. Register online or call 203-762-6334.7 – 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 13New Perspectives Film Series—The Accountant of Auschwitz:   The New Perspectives documentary film series will present The Accountant of Auschwitz, a 2018 documentary about the 2015 trial in Germany of an SS Officer who was a bookkeeper at that concentration camp. In the 1980s he had come out publicly about his time during WW2 in reaction to the rise of Holocaust denial with Groning vehemently denouncing the Holocaust deniers based on his own first-hand experiences at Auschwitz. The film raises many important issues about how Germany handled its Holocaust responsibility after the war as well as issues of personal culpability, redemption, possibly even forgiveness.7:30 – 9:30 p.m.