May , 2018

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Book Talk: Karen Batshaw discusses “Hidden in Plain Sight”

New novel explores the plight of Jews living in WWII Greece


CHICAGO, IL – On Oct. 27 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., the National Hellenic Museum will host a book talk and signing with author Karen Batshaw about her new novel Hidden in Plain Sight, which tells the story of a young Jewish woman from Thessaloniki who moves to Athens in the early years of World War II and lives as a Christian to avoid arousing suspicion.

Hidden in Plain Sight shines a light on the plight of Greece’s Jews during the occupation of the Nazis in World War II and the brave attempts of the Archbishop of Athens to protect them.

Batshaw, whose previous books include Love’s Journey, Kate’s Journey, and Echoes in the Mist, is not Greek but she fell in love with Greek culture as a college student and says she has always felt a special connection to Greece and its people. It was her immersion in Greek culture as part of her research for Echoes in the Mist that led her to the tragic story of Greece during World War II.

“I had written a book about 19th century Greece and I wanted to write another book using those characters,” said Batshaw. While doing research for the new book, she visited Tarpon Springs, Fla., which has the largest percentage of Greeks per capita in the United States.

“It was Greek Independence Day and I took some pictures and put them on Facebook,” said Batshaw. “I used to do international adoptions in Cambodia and one of my clients wrote back on Facebook and asked me if I was Greek. It turns out she was dating a Greek Jewish man who wanted to know ‘How is it this person who knows about Greek Independence Day and wasn’t Greek?’”

Batshaw said the exchange led to her discovery of the Greek Jewish community in Greece and how it was decimated during World War II.

“I went online and learned that almost all the Jews were killed in World War II,” she said. “This man then told me the story about the town he came from and how Christians saved most of the Jews. So I started to do research on it. When I realized how many Christians stood up to the Nazis, I realized this was a story that people should know.”

Batshaw lives in Washington, D.C. and Williamsburg, VA. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and a Master’s degree in Social Work.

Books will be available for purchase and signing. Tickets are $15, Members $10, Students $5.

For more information or to purchase tickets, call or 312-655-1234 or visit www.nationalhellenicmuseum.org.



Photo: Author Karen Batshaw

Located in Chicago’s Greektown, the sleek 40,000-square-foot National Hellenic Museum at 333. S. Halsted St. is both contemporary and timeless, connecting all generations—past, present and future—to the rich heritage of Greek culture, history, and the Greek story in America. The National Hellenic Museum, previously known as the Hellenic Museum and Cultural Center, has been fulfilling this mission since 1983.

  For more information, visit http://www.nationalhellenicmuseum.org or call 312-655-1234.

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