Hope After Hate: E-Media Professor Shares Father’s Holocaust Experience

CCM E-Media Professor and Emmy Award-winning journalist Hagit Limor shares her father’s Holocaust survival story with lessons to inspire action against hatred and bigotry today

The spring 2020 edition of UC Magazine features a cover story about the ground-breaking “Hope After Hate” project launched by CCM E-Media Professor Hagit Limor. The story is available to read online.

Inspired by her father’s story of struggle and survival during the Holocaust, Limor set out to create “Hope After Hate: Moniek’s Legacy” to share his experience through immersive theatre and virtual reality. In October 2019, Limor’s Media Topics class of 15 students traveled to Poland and Germany to retrace her father’s journey. They will use the photos, videos and research collected during the trip to create an immersive play and virtual reality experience for the “Hope After Hate” project.

“Hope After Hate” will be an innovative, new kind of theatre — part play, part video and part virtual reality. Projections of historical settings will surround the audience during the immersive play, creating a virtual set in which they sit and interact with the actor portraying Moniek Limor. The “Hope After Hate” team is also creating a separate 15-minute virtual reality experience that will immerse users in Moniek’s story with goggles and hand sensors.

Viewers will be transported into the attic where he hid with his family as a child, into the Hasag-Pelcery labor camp where he was enslaved for more than a year as an adolescent, into the cattle-car train that transported him to the Buchenwald concentration camp when he was 14 and into the camp itself, where he was an inmate for four months. The project explores how people struggle to hold on to their humanity when surrounded by hate and fear. It also shares historical lessons in an effort to turn bystanders into upstanders who will speak out against hatred and bigotry today.

“Hope After Hate” unites students, faculty and staff from across UC, including undergraduate and graduate students majoring in E-Media, Acting, International Affairs, Political Science, Geography and History. CCM Acting Professor Susan Felder is adapting Limor’s memoir of her father’s experience into a script for the immersive play. Additionally, the “Hope After Hate” team is collaborating with CCM Lighting Design and Technology Professor Sharon Huizinga on how to create projections for the play. UC’s Center for Simulations and Virtual Environments Research (UCSIM) is building the VR experience with the 360-degree photos and videos that students captured while on the trip.

Read UC Magazine’s cover story on “Hope After Hate” to learn more about the project. Readers can also view photo galleries of images taken during the study abroad trip and watch a student-created documentary on the project.


“Hope After Hate” is sponsored by Cincinnati’s Holocaust and Humanity Center, and has already received support from private donors as well as Cincinnati’s Jewish Innovation Funds and the CCM Harmony Fund. This support offset travel expenses during the study abroad trip and funded some production expenses. However, the class is still actively collecting donations for projectors needed for the play and virtual reality equipment. Visit hopeafterhate.com for updates on the project and to learn how to get involved. 

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Hope After Hate: E-Media Professor Shares Father’s Holocaust Survival Story

Moniek’s Legacy captures the journey of a Holocaust survivor with lessons to inspire action against hatred and bigotry.

For decades Holocaust survivors have shared stories about the horrors they experienced during World War II in educational, historical and personal presentations. As the years pass, survivors rely more on their children and grandchildren to recount their narratives and ensure this history is not forgotten.

Hagit Limor and her father, Menachem “Moniek” Limor.

Hagit Limor and her father, Menachem “Moniek” Limor.

Inspired by her own father’s experience, CCM E-Media Professor Hagit Limor set out to create Moniek’s Legacy, a multimedia tool that captures the journey of a Holocaust survivor with lessons to inspire action against future acts of hatred. With support from the CCM Harmony Fund, Limor and 15 students in her fall 2019 Media Topics class will travel to Poland and Germany in October to work on the project.

“For years, I’ve watched as my father lost the words to a story that only grew in relevance,” says Limor. “Eventually he could no longer share his wisdom with students as he had for decades before. I want to create a mechanism for relating these lessons to outlive not only my father, but his daughter as well.”

WCPO-TV will air a special broadcast about the project titled “Hope After Hate” at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, June 17, 2019.

Moniek’s Legacy will create an immersive virtual reality experience, bringing viewers inside the survival story of Limor’s father through chapters such as Invasion, The Ghetto, Cattle Car Death Train, The Concentration Camp and Liberation. Each chapter will create a platform for civil discussion, challenging participants to consider their actions when confronted with acts of hatred and bigotry. Limor is working with UC’s Center for Simulations and Virtual Environments Research (UCSIM) to create a 360-degree virtual reality experience for Moniek’s Legacy.

Sponsored by the Cincinnati Museum’s Holocaust and Humanity Center, Moniek’s Legacy will serve as an online resource for educators to inspire engaging, civil discussions in classrooms and community groups. Cincinnati’s Jewish Innovation Fund awarded Limor a $25,000 grant to support the project in August 2017, and she has since raised more than $70,000 in additional funding.

The attic where Menachem Limor hid until he was discovered by Nazis during WWII.

The attic where Menachem Limor hid until he was discovered by Nazis during WWII.

CCM’s Harmony Fund awarded a generous grant to offset travel expenses for the 15 students who will participate in the study abroad trip for Moniek’s Legacy. They will travel from Cincinnati to Warsaw, Poland, then to Czestochowa, Poland, and to Frankfurt, Germany, to research and film the project from October 4 to 13, 2019.

The class is open to all UC students. It includes students from CCM’s Acting and E-Media programs as well as students who study history, political science, international affairs, journalism and other disciplines. Each student can teach and learn from their peers, giving them an engaging cross-collegiate experience.

In March, Limor and Jodi Elowitz, Director of Education at the Holocaust and Humanity Center, traveled to Europe on a scouting trip to plan for the study abroad class. They retraced her father’s journey of horror and survival through multiple stops in Poland and Germany. They saw where Limor’s father hid from Nazis in the attic of a Polish ghetto, the Treblinka extermination camp where her grandmother and uncle were murdered and the concentration work camp where her father was taken when he was 12 years old.

Moniek’s Legacy will be filmed on-site at various locations during the study abroad trip. After Limor and the students return to Cincinnati, they will work on editing the footage and putting in the production elements. Limor says that it will most likely take a year to complete Moniek’s Legacy. When the project is completed the Cincinnati Museum’s Holocaust and Humantiy Center will use Moniek’s Legacy in its educational outreach. In the meantime, Limor is working with CCM Acting Professor Susan Felder to write a script for an interactive play about the project.

My personal motivation for this project has to do with my students and son, and the world into which they are growing. There is so much disappointment with some of the hatred and bigotry in media, politics and the world stage right now. This project seeks to fight hatred wherever it exists. It is not political at all. It is about humans caring for other humans.

Tune In: Watch WCPO’s “Hope After Hate” Special

Limor will talk about Moniek’s Legacy in a 30-minute special broadcast on WCPO-TV at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, June 17, 2019. The “Hope After Hate” special will feature Moniek’s Legacy, the study abroad class and the CCM Harmony Fund.

When: 7:30 p.m. on Monday, June 17, 2019

Where: WCPO-TV Channel 9 or download the free WCPO 9 On Your Side mobile app from the Apple Store or Google Play.

About the CCM Harmony Fund

Founded in 2002, the CCM Harmony Fund supports artistic works that fight hate and prejudice through the performing arts by bringing together audiences of different backgrounds around controversial topics and situations with the goal of inspiring meaningful conversations. This special fund was created as both an acknowledgement of the continuing existence of hate and prejudice within our world and, more importantly, the ability of the arts to help us better understand and transcend these emotions. The goal of any Harmony Fund project is to inspire imaginative thinking, encourage conversations, present contrasting attitudes and help us examine our own viewpoints. The Harmony Fund supports the students and faculty at CCM to explore these issues and encourage them to find a voice. Past Harmony Fund-supported performances include The Laramie Project, Tan Dun’s Water Passion After St. Matthew, Dadaab Theatre Project, Sphinx Virtuosi Orchestra, Falsettos and more.

Support the CCM Harmony Fund by giving online

Featured Image: Monument in the Czestochowa Warta train station by Paweł “pbm” Szubert

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CCM’s ‘The Time of Your Life’ Earns Two LCT Nominations

CCM presents 'The Time of Your Life.' Photography by Mark Lyons.

CCM presents ‘The Time of Your Life.’ Photography by Mark Lyons.

Panelists for the League of Cincinnati Theatres (LCT) have recognized CCM’s Mainstage Series production of The Time of Your Life with two LCT nominations, for Ensemble in a Play and for scenic design (Mark Halpin). Congratulations to everyone involved with this production!

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CCM Slideshows: The Time of Your Life

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CCM proudly presents William Saroyan’s Pulitzer Prize and Drama Critics’ Circle Award-winning drama The Time of Your Life, running tonight through Sunday in UC’s Patricia Corbett Theater. Tickets are on sale now.

You can read the Cincinnati Enquirer‘s preview of the show here and learn more about the production here.

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CCM’s Mainstage Series Offers ‘The Time of Your Life’ This February

An early look at the set for 'The Time of Your Life' by Scenic Designer Mark Halpin.

An early look at the set for ‘The Time of Your Life’ by Scenic Designer Mark Halpin.

CCM proudly presents a sprawling, elegant production of American playwright William Saroyan’s award-winning five-act play The Time of Your Life, running Feb. 6 (preview) – 10 in UC’s Patricia Corbett Theater.

Set in a run-down waterfront dive bar on the docks of San Francisco (“Nick’s Pacific Street Saloon, Restaurant and Entertainment Palace”) in October of 1939, The Time of Your Life is filled with colorful characters, love and the follies of humanity. CCM Associate Professor of Drama Diane Kvapil directs.

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CCM Presents ‘The Time of Your Life’ Feb. 6-10

Ellie Jameson as Kitty, Cliff Nunley as Nick and Will Kiley as Joe in CCM's 'The Time of Your Life.' Photography by Brian J. Ruggaber. Shot on location at Uncle Woody's Pub in Clifton.

Ellie Jameson as Kitty, Cliff Nunley as Nick and Will Kiley as Joe in CCM’s ‘The Time of Your Life.’ Photography by Brian J. Ruggaber. Shot at Uncle Woody’s Pub in Clifton.

“In the time of your life, live – so that in that good time there shall be no ugliness or death for yourself or for any life your life touches.” – William Saroyan

This February, CCM proudly presents William Saroyan‘s sprawling and elegant The Time of Your Life. Directed by Diane Kvapil, this bittersweet drama runs Feb. 6 (preview) – 10 in CCM’s Patricia Corbett Theater.

Saroyan’s second play, The Time of Your Life was written in just six days and went on to become the only play to win both the Pulitzer Prize and the Drama Critic’s Circle Award. Written in the summer of 1939, Saroyan said of the work, “The shadow of impending war is all over my second play.”

“People everywhere needed respite from fear,” Kvapil explains. “Hope was hard to find… the whole world was at war or in fear of invasion.” In this climate, the run-down waterfront saloon of Saroyan’s play serves as a refuge, a place of peace and camaraderie.

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