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Skirball Cultural Center

Ukraine. War. Stories.

A Staged Reading of Texts, Emails, and Interviews

Public Programs | Words and Ideas

Photo of a Ukrainian soldier in a field with his dog. Both are looking at something off camera to the left. Behind the man is a large plume of black smoke filling the skyline.

Photo by Maks Levin

Actors Sarah Drew (Grey’s Anatomy), Mitchell Kummen (Ties That Bind), Susan Sullivan (The Kominsky Method), and Steven Weber (Wings) share stories from both Germany’s invasion of Ukraine in 1941 and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine today. A conversation and Q&A follows the staged reading.

This is a past program

This program took place on
Tuesday, June 6, 2023

About the Program

Join us for a staged reading about life in wartime Ukraine told through first-hand accounts and on-the-ground photography co-presented by Centropa and the Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies at UCLA. Over the last year, Ukrainian teachers and students have been writing to the oral history institute Centropa to document and share their stories, fears, and hopes. Four actors will bring these stories to life, as well as prewar stories told by elderly Ukrainian Jews, juxtaposing Germany’s invasion of Ukraine in 1941 with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine today. 

Sarah Drew (Grey’s Anatomy, Everwood)
Mitchell Kummen (Ties That Bind)
Susan Sullivan (The Kominsky Method, Castle)
Steven Weber (Chicago Med, Wings, Curb Your Enthusiasm)

Nicole Garcia—Violin
Michael D. Mortilla—Piano

A discussion follows the performance featuring Tablet Magazine deputy editor, Jeremy Stern; founding director of Centropa, Edward Serotta; UCLA professor in the department of Slavic, Eastern European and Eurasian Languages and Cultures, Lilya Kaganovsky; and Yevhen Minko, visiting graduate researcher at UCLA from Kyiv, Ukraine. 

Accompanying the presentation is a series of photographs taken by Maks Levin, a photojournalist and Centropa worker who was killed by Russian forces on the seventeenth day of the war.

Arrive early to view the exhibitions—including Peter Krasnow: Breathing Joy and Light, which features post–World War II works by the acclaimed Ukrainian fine artist.

Black and white photograph of a family posing for a portrait. Mother and father sit on either side with three children between them.

Courtesy of Centropa

Closeup photograph of a young man outside holding a phone up to show the text, "Russian missiles won't break our spines"

Photo by Edward Serotta

Ukraine. War. Stories. is co-presented by the Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish Studies at UCLA.

Mother holding young daughter dancing and smiling outside during a festival

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