Mitka's Secret at the Gordon JCC

By Alex Heller,                Gordon JCC Adult Program Director

The Gordon Jewish Community Center of Nashville and the Mandell JCC of Greater Hartford (Connecticut) come together for a hybrid author event. On September 19th, both JCCs will hold an in-person reception with authors of the book Mitka’s Secret living in their respective regions.

Mitka’s Secret tells the story of Mitka Kalinski, who escaped from an execution site during the Holocaust as a young boy. Later, he was found by Nazi soldiers and served as a subject for medical experimentation. He was eventually freed and was able to establish his life in the United States. As author Joel Lohr describes, “What a story. What a man. What a long, harrowing, and unique journey. I had never heard anything like it before. An orphaned, Jewish child made to be a slave to a Nazi officer. A man who tried to bury his past, only to have it all come out 30 years later, his wife of 28 years in shock. And a man who came to embrace his Jewish heritage as well as learn how to love deeply and forgive.” Mitka’s wife Adrienne was determined to share his story since the 80s, but even as film producers requested to share his amazing life, nothing came to fruition.

The program is a partnership between both JCCs, the Hartford Seminary, the Nashville Holocaust Memorial, and Voices of Hope.  Nashville Holocaust Memorial chair, Felicia Anchor says, "The Holocaust Memorial is pleased to collaborate on this inspiring program. The extent of experiences of the Jewish people of Europe during the Holocaust is wider and deeper than we ever imagined. This history is an amazing reminder."

Authors Steven Brallier and Lynn Beck will be in Nashville, and Joel Lohr will be in West Hartford, speaking about the book in person and over Zoom. There will be a book signing prior to the talk. Light appetizers will be served. Tickets are $25 with a book, and $10 without. For more information and to purchase tickets and/or books, please visit, or contact



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