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Dr. Leonid Yanovskiy's performance at premier event for “The U.S. and the Holocaust”

September 16, 2022 | Dr. Brian Hood, Interim Chair, UWF Dr. Grier Williams School of Music |

Dr. Leonid Yanovskiy performed at the WSRE Amos Performance Studio.

When WSRE, the local PBS member television station, invited Dr. Leonid Yanovskiy to participate at a public presentation of the new documentary film, “The U.S. and the Holocaust” at the WSRE Amos Performance Studio at Pensacola State College on Thursday, September 8th, 2022, he readily volunteered to perform at the event.

Dr. Yanovskiy is professor and director of strings at the UWF Dr. Grier Williams School of Music and Concertmaster of the Pensacola Symphony. Much of Yanovskiy’s family perished in Ukraine during WWII, and he felt that performance would be an essential, if small tribute to the memory of millions of victims of war and genocide. The poignant and intimate violin-and-piano performance of John Williams’ masterpiece “Theme from Schindler’s List” brought tears to many eyes. More than 300 people filled the Amos Studio to watch the preview screening of the 40-minute selection from the new film by Ken Burns, Lynn Novick and Sarah Botstein, which was followed by the performance by Yanovskiy and his wife, an independent music historian Dr. Victoria Adamenko. In the second half of the program, the audience listen to and participated in the emotional panel discussion led by Steve Nissim who was joined on stage by Rabbi Joel Fleekop of the Temple Beth El, Rabbi David Cohen-Henriquez of the B’nai Israel Synagogue and the children of Holocaust survivors Dan Hecht, Faye Merritt, and Lori Ripps.

The documentary “The U.S. and the Holocaust” will be shown in its entirety on PBS on September 18-20. The documentary is a six-hour series directed and produced by Ken Burns, Lynn Novick and Sarah Botstein. According to WSRE, it explores America’s response to one of the greatest humanitarian crises of the 20th century and was inspired, in part, by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's "Americans and the Holocaust" exhibition. To read more about the documentary, visit

"History cannot be looked at in isolation. While we rightly celebrate American ideals of democracy and our history as a nation of immigrants, we must also grapple with the fact that American institutions and policies, like segregation and the brutal treatment of indigenous populations, were influential in Hitler’s Germany. And it cannot be denied that, although we accepted more refugees than any other sovereign nation, America could have done so much more to help the millions of desperate people fleeing Nazi persecution." - Ken Burns (via WSRE)