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Tue, Jun 18

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Webinar

Qesher Book Club: "Family Declassified"

Why do people keep deep secrets about their lives and ancestry? In Family Declassified, Katherine Fennelly applies her expertise as a social science researcher to answer this question regarding her maternal grandfather, a Jewish Hungarian immigrant who arrived in the US one hundred years ago.

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Qesher Book Club: "Family Declassified"
Qesher Book Club: "Family Declassified"

Time & Location

Jun 18, 2024, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM EDT

Webinar

About the event

Why do people keep deep secrets about their lives and ancestry?  In Family Declassified,  Katherine Fennelly applies her expertise as a social science researcher  to answer this question regarding her maternal grandfather, a Jewish  Hungarian immigrant who arrived in the US one hundred years ago. A Google search for 'Francis Kalnay' yields more than 54,000 results—the  vast majority related to the children's book, "Chucaro: Wild Pony of the  Pampa," for which he won a Newbery Honor in 1959.

Buried  deep within the search results are a few references to his years at the  Office of Strategic Services (OSS)—the precursor to the CIA. However,  none describes how a foreign-born sailor overcame a childhood marked by  tragedy and became the head of an elite espionage unit for the Allied  Forces during World War II. At the OSS Kalnay was one of the few  foreign-born Americans informed and 'indoctrinated' in what we now know  as the ULTRA decrypts, the German Enigma messages that were used to  capture or thwart almost all German offensive.

For more information about the book, see: https://www.katherinefennelly.com/about-the-book

About the author:

Trained as a social scientist, Katherine Fennelly is an immigration policy expert whose work has taken her to many of the  countries where her late grandfather lived out his adventures. She has  studied and worked in Iran, Spain, and Ecuador and done consulting work  and academic residencies across Latin America and Europe. Katherine is a  voracious reader and a life-long student of languages. She discovered  her family's Jewish roots as an adult, something her Hungarian-American  mother preferred not to discuss. When not tracking down classified  documents and delving into family history, she volunteers for refugee  service organizations, serves as a Spanish-English interpreter, and  enjoys biking in Prospect Park and spending time with her daughters and  granddaughters who live nearby in Brooklyn.

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