Movie Premiere of ''Henny: A Legacy of Hope'' with Piano Virtuoso Emanuel Ax and Eastern CT Symphony Orchestra on Sale Now at Garde Arts Center, New London, CT

“Henny: A Legacy of Hope”, a new documentary film created by Jerry Fischer and Todd Gipstein, will have its gala premiere on the giant screen of the Garde Arts Center in downtown New London on Thursday, February 29, 2024 at 7:30 pm.  The evening will begin with live musical tributes by internationally acclaimed pianist Emanuel Ax, the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra (ECSO) and Chorus, and participating choirs from Colchester and New London. 

“Henny: A Legacy of Hope” celebrates the life of Colchester farmer Henny Rosenbaum Markiewicz Simon, a native of Hannover, Germany, and a 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 and Ben succeeded in making several generations understand the need and responsibility to fight hatred, intolerance, and assaults on human rights. Ax will perform Beethoven’s Sonata Pathetique, and Schoenberg’s Three Pieces for Piano, Opus 11.   Maestro Toshiyuki Shimada will conduct Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy with his wife, pianist Eva Virsik playing the piano part. The ECSO was founded by Victor Norman, a refugee from Nazi Europe.  In the 2004/05 season Ax contributed to an International EMMY® Award-Winning BBC documentary commemorating the Holocaust that aired on the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Both Emanuel Ax and Eva Virsik have personal ties to WW II, and Maestro Shimada’s father was in two Japanese Internment Camps during WW II.  Co-Director and Producer Jerry Fischer, a graduate of City College of NY, with graduate degrees from Hunter College, CUNY, and Harvard University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, 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. Jerry was inspired to make this film after traveling to Hannover, Germany with Henny in December 2016 to commemorate, with music, lectures, and ceremonies, the 75th anniversary of the Nazi expulsion of the Jews from Hannover on December 14. Co-director, writer, and editor Todd Gipstein has been a National Geographic photographer, filmmaker, writer, and producer since 1987. As the Society’s Director of Multi-Image and an Executive Producer, he created dozens of award-winning documentaries. A graduate of Harvard College, Todd travels the globe lecturing for the Geographic and also works on independent projects. Co-producer Andreas Mink has been the editor of the American German-Jewish publication Aufbau since 1997. Andreas also contributes to numerous publications in Germany and Switzerland, most frequently to the Sunday edition of Neue Zürcher Zeitung. He has also written for numerous publications in Germany and Switzerland, as well as the German edition of the British Financial Times Arts and Culture section. Additional film team members are Yehuda Beinin and Dvora Burstyn of Israel, Dana Kline of the Fortunoff Holocaust Archives, Yale University, and Susan Schwartz, a New London native and a veteran producer with ABC News in New York since 1993. According to Gipstein, “our team wanted to create a documentary that is intellectually and emotionally interactive, with symbolic and evocative cinematic content and techniques. It focuses on Henny’s experiences and her determination to live a full life despite the traumas of her childhood and teen years. It also explores how Henny’s speaking out about antisemitism, Holocaust denial and intolerance left a legacy of activism,” “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. HennyTheMovie.Org Tickets for the premiere of “Henny: A Legacy of Hope” range from $26 to $125.  The $125 tickets are partially tax-deductible and will be acknowledged in the evening’s printed program and on the film’s website. Tickets are available online at, or at the Garde Box Office, 325 State Street, Tuesday through Friday 10 am to 5 pm in person, or by phone at (860)444-7373 extension 1.   
WHAT:  Henny: A Legacy of Hope a movie premiere with special live music by Emanuel Ax and Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra WHEN: Thursday, February 29, 2024 7:30 pm WHERE: Garde Arts Center, 325 State Street, New London, CT 06320 TICKETS: Starting at $26, (860)444-7373 ext 1, or
MEDIA INFO For photos and interviews, please contact
Jeanne Sigel, (860) 961-4106,
Jerry Fischer,
About the Garde Arts Center Founded in 1985, The Garde, Southeastern Connecticut’s non-profit home for the performing arts and cinema, presents a full spectrum of touring musicals, opera, orchestras, music, dance, special events, and state-of-the-art 4K surround sound digital cinema at its restored historic 1425-seat movie palace and the 120-seat Oasis Room. The Garde hosts performances by regional arts organizations and provides educational programs for more than 12,000 young people. The Garde owns a city block of adjacent historic buildings that support Garde programs and provide studio spaces for creative writers, instrument makers, photographers, and architects.   Under the leadership of Steve Sigel, executive director since 1988, the Garde has become a major catalyst for the cultural and economic revitalization of New London.  In 2022, the Garde singly received the Outstanding Historic Theatre in America award from the League of Historic American Theatres, and in 2026 will celebrate the theater’s centennial. Learn more at