News & Events

Hello Golden Gate, Goodbye Russia
Seton Hall > News & Events 

Hello Golden Gate - Goodbye RussiaThursday, April 3, 2014, at 6:30 - 8:30 p.m., in Fahy 236, Slavic Club will present guest speaker, Olga Valcoff, who will be discussing her book, Hello Golden Gate, Goodbye Russia. It is an epic generational saga of a family that was forced to flee their mother country and spent the rest of their lives looking for a place to call home.

When author Olga Valcoff's grandparents left behind everything they cared for while fleeing from the Russian Revolution of 1917, they became part of Asia's White Russian community, where a diaspora of stateless refugees found comfort as they tried to rebuild their lives. Two generations later, Olga was born in Japan and moved to Shanghai with her parents, always on the run from war, Communism and political oppression Olga Valcoff was born in Kagoshima, Japan, and grew up in Japan, Shanghai and the Philippines, before and during World War II. She immigrated to the US with her family in 1951; she arrived at San Francisco and then lived in Seattle. Later, she studied drama at Los Angeles City College. Olga has worked in theater in Chicago and as a fashion designer in New York City.

Olga's life is told in a series of powerful vignettes. Her story growing up in a town where she was the only blonde blue-eyed child is enchanting. Later she spent her formative years during the turbulent times of WWII in Shanghai among the diaspora of the White Russian refugees, who in the thousands settled there after fleeing the Bolsheviks. During that time Olga's family gave shelter to some Jewish refugees who were able to escape the Nazi clutches and came to Asia. Unfortunately, on the onset of Mao Tse Tung's takeover of China in 1949, they had to flee Communism again. Several thousand Russians were relocated to a Displaced Persons (DP) camp in the Philippines for 2 years in a tent city (typhoons and all) until; finally, they found a permanent home in America, arriving in San Francisco under the Golden Gate Bridge. Hence, the title of her book.

In 2007 Olga returned to visit her birthplace in Japan after 67 years and was joyfully, and tearfully, reunited with many of her Japanese childhood friends. It is astonishing that after all the time has passed, she was well remembered by so many and who welcomed her with opened arms and much joy.

Olga's narrative is a personal story with a strong historical and factual background. Her journey from the Far East to America is written from a young girl's eye that weaves a heartfelt story which will captivate our audience.

After the lecture we will conduct a Q&A session. All are welcome! Slavic food will be served!

For more information please contact:
Anna Kuchta
(973) 275-2875
anna.kuchta@shu.edu

 

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