Well, Kyle and are have been on a world-wind tour of Melbourne, Australia.  In three days we have seen some of the coolest architecture in the world, I ate sushi(Kyle’s favorite food) for the first time ever, vegan, of course and we screened and presented Finding Matilda at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.


RMIT is by far one of the most amazing schools I have ever been to.  The technology and design is extraordinary.  The conference has given us some interesting and thought provoking ideas for our work back home.  All in all, a great success.

Thanks Australia!

Homeward Bound!

By the time you read this our students will be on a plane from Helsinki to New York.  They have had a great experience.

Also, a piece of really good news- we got the batteries back!  Dr. Olga Sharp took a taxi to where the customs holds confiscations and was able to pick them up and put them into the carry-on baggage.  Thank you Olga!!

Also, Here is another article about the team by the National Herald:



Work Being Done in Poland as Well

From Dr. Freund…..


Our work in Warsaw, Poland-had multiple days of media coverage.

Lithuania, Greece and Poland in one summer!

The final sets of projects were done by our Canadian Geophysicists team in Warsaw July 17-21 at the Bersohn and Bauman Jewish Children’s Hospital in the Warsaw Ghetto, Lizenski. Park where there was a weapons cache and at the bunker made famous by Leon Uris’ book “Mila 18” the site of the last stand of the ghetto fighter Mordechai Anielewicz and the leadership of the uprising who were killed on May 8, 1943.




Amerykańsko-kanadyjski zespół geofizyków od wczoraj za pomocą nieinwazyjnej metody badań archeologicznych przeszukuje teren d. getta warszawskiego. Celem poszukiwań jest stworzenie mapy miejsc


Amerykańsko-kanadyjski zespół geofizyków od wczoraj za pomocą nieinwazyjnej metody badań archeologicznych przeszukuje teren d. getta warszawskiego. Celem poszukiwań jest stworzenie mapy miejsc …

WYDŹWIĘK: neutralny


Amerykańsko-kanadyjski zespół geofizyków prowadzi badania na terenie dawnego getta warszawskiego

WYDŹWIĘK: neutralny

Opracowanie: PRESS-SERVICE Monitoring Mediów | tel./faks +48 61 66 26 005




Everything we have done now in Rhodes!

Best regards,

Dr. Richard A. Freund



We’re on a Boat!


Today we came on to island of Kos for an official visit for the Jewish community and for our research project. Kos is a great place if mystery where 2500 years ago Hippocrates sat under a tree near the port and taught the beginnings of medicine and where in the Greek period this island was the site of one of the great healing site, an Asclepion. According to ancient Greek mythology Asclepius was the god of medicine and healing. There is something about the island which made it a center in antiquity for many things. Perhaps it’s proximity to Turkey. It is rumored that Paul the Apostle say under the same Hippocrates tree five centuries after Hippocrates.

So today, July 22 we went in a ferry from Rhodes port to the island of Kos for a bit of healing. 50 of us with the Chief Rabbi of Greece.

Almost 75 years to the day after the Nazis came with a boat to Kos and rounded up all the Jews on the island (100 + Jews) on a single day. We came with survivors and their families for a healing service that included songs, prayers and speeches and the lighting of the six candles. All of the names of the Kos Jews were read-one by one.

This is going to make great documentaries!

Game changing history that our students were involved in excavating and filming!

Lost worlds under a school! Inscriptions, pillars and beautiful rediscovered synagogue art all found because of extensive noninvasive work and excavation!

We are just finishing up the story of Rhodes!






Updates from Greece

Hello All:

Sorry for the delay in posting this update as I was having Outlook problems and did not get any emails for two days.  Problem fixed and now onto the updates…..

First from me- our film students were still dealing with no batteries=no filming for the weekend.  But a gentleman named Ilias Tomazos who is the Director of PAIDEIA Study Abroad Programs in Greece and also a UHart alumni has gone to Athens and gotten batteries for our cameras!  Thank you Ilias!!!

Dr. Freund’s Update:


This is an update from Rhodes. With temperature and heat indices around 100 degrees this is a contrast with our fine Lithuanian summer weather.

_DSC0363Our group has been a part of Lithuanian history and Greek history in the space of one week. It also is cutting edge research into the teaching the Holocaust in the field. We are here with Lena Stein a photographer who has done multiple exhibits with us in the past. We are hoping to arrange a photo exhibit for the follow up to our work featuring  her work.

Commemorating is a form of creating contemporary events to experience and remember the past. They usually involve the local community that may have no idea about the history of a location from 75 years ago. This is leading up to a major conference that features among other papers our geoscience projects in Rhodes on the two major destroyed medieval synagogues and what our geoscience non-invasive studies here reveal.

So last night-Sunday July 20- in a local open air theater the  Rhodes municipality showed for the packed Rhodes crowd-“Woman in Gold”the 2015 Hollywood film about art stolen by the Nazis in Vienna and the question of restitution of the art to the original families over 60 years after the Holocaust that went to the US Supreme Court.

The Woman in Gold as a Metaphor fir the Post Holocaust World gold

Sixty years after fleeing Vienna, Maria Altmann (Helen Mirren), an elderly Jewish woman, attempts to reclaim family possessions such as the famous portrait of Maria’s beloved Aunt Adele: Gustave Klimt’s “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I.” With the help of young lawyer Randy Schoeberg -yes, the grandson of the famed composer Arnold Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds), Maria embarks upon a lengthy legal battle to recover this painting and several others, but it will not be easy, for Austria considers them national treasures. It is a mystery wrapped in a Holocaust dilemma that many European countries face about restitution. The message was very relevant in Greece and Rhodes where over 90% of the Rhodes Jews were killed in the Holocaust and restitution claims still remain an issue.

candlesThe two ceremonies we have been a part of had similar design -a ritual lighting of six  candles for the six million Jews, musical accompaniment intoning of Jewish prayers and speeches by local dignitaries and survivors.

A memorial stone figured in both ceremonies but the one here in Rhodes sits in the commercial center of tourism in the old Jewish Quarter while the Lithuanian stone in Kaunas sits at the edge of a destroyed Ghetto.

We experienced two of the most distinctive European expressions of the what is done to commemorate and remember the Holocaust and to educate the local population to the ongoing issues and needs to remember the past so we do not repeat it in the future.

July 14 Kaunas, Lithuania


Filming the event at the site of the mass burial of Fort 9 in Kaunas on July 14

studentsThe students gathering at the site of the liquidation of the Jewish Ghetto in Kaunas on

July 21 Rhodes, Greece


The students sitting in the Kahal Shalom Synagogue (site of our multi year study) for the remembrance of the round up of the Jews of Rhodes


The musical program and candle lighting

Standing before the stone at the center of the Juderia-Jewish Quarter.

Much of this might seem difficult but we went and explored the Grandmaster Palace yesterday! A World Heritage site with the architect of Rhodes’ Old Town restorations! Very inspiring.

Tonight we are going to a Leonard Cohen concert at the medieval Knights Templar Castle of Rhodes! Fun and inspiring! Tomorrow taking the ferry to the island of Kos. Stay tuned!

Dr. Richard A. Freund

Becca’s Update:

Today, our group went to the Grandmaster’s Palace early in the morning. It was a huge castle and is currently a museum. We met with George and Katerina, an archaeologist and architect couple, who told us about the history of the palace and it’s importance to the island. Two floors and the courtyard was open with many different statues and artifacts dating back thousands of years.
We then had a long break from about noon until 9pm. Some went to lunch together, to the beach, walking around the city, or the hotel pool.
At 9, the group walked down the street to an open air theater for a showing of the movie, “Woman in Gold”, which told the true story of an Austrian-Jewish woman named Maria. She came from a wealthy family, but all of their belongings were stolen by Nazis during WWII. The movie follows her journey with a young family friend and lawyer, Randy, as they try to reclaim a painting of her late aunt from an Austrian art gallery. This was a very powerful movie, because it not only represented how difficult it was for people who were Jewish to leave their home during Nazi rule, but the lasting effects it has over 50  years later.
Kyle’s Update:

Everything is going great. The island is beautiful and very nice weather. Dr. Fruend invited me a private lunch on a boat restaurant. It was great and we were with the holocaust survivors of Rhodes. I sat at his table and personally talked to him. It was really great.

Photos from Becca:


A few Hiccups!

Well, I woke up this morning to emails that the Helsinki customs has confiscated our film students camera batteries.  I will be working along with Olga Sharp(thanks Olga!) to try to get the batteries back on Monday.  I want to thank Kyle Conti for going above and beyond to try to get this fixed as well. Dr. Freund is working to purchase replacement batteries, in the meantime(Thanks Dr. Freund!).

Otherwise- short report and photos from Kyle in Greece:

After a good nights rest, we woke up to a totally different temperature change. 80 degrees and all day sun with a nice breeze. We started a walking tour around Rhodes Greece with Dr. Freund. Our group of the same travelers went to many different sites around the “Old City”, which is surrounded by walls. Small shops and places to eat are scattered around the city creating a modern feel. We then took a walking tour around some of the Jewish houses and old synagogues that are now being excavated. Tonight we have a small service with food at the synagogue museum. Just a log day that was filled with walking.


Article and Quick Message from Travis

Last night’s celebration of Dr. Freund’s new book and the students who are doing the work in the field with us!   You can read it by clicking on the English tab at the top but the photos(one with our students) is only on the Lithuanian language post.

Message from Travis:

_DSC0011Our last day in Lithuania seemed to go by so fast. Today we started at eight o’clock and didn’t stop working until six. Unfortunately for us most of our filming was finished very early in the day but we got to walk around the city more. The underground portion storage underneath the bimah has been cleared out and now you could stand straight up. The archeologists believe they may be another secret chamber behind the tablet they found. The ground penetrating radar team from the University of Wisconsin/ Eauclaire started scanning the walls and floor. Right when we were reading to pack up for the day, one person discovered parts of a book that seemed to be stored away in a wall. Groups of people crowded around in shocked, we truly have found something incredible and half of it is still undiscovered. However our trip is half over and soon in a couple of hours will we be on our way to Greece.

More from Greece soon!



The Vilna Inscription

Dr. Freund reports:

Found yesterday at the Great Synagogue in a tunnel below the main floor.

Photos by Kyle Conti

The inscription -a time capsule of sorts-a brief note from the time of the Gaon of Vilna about a single family’s tragedy k3

It chronicles the life of a congregant who went to Israel to live in 1788 lived in Tiberias and Jerusalem and died in 1796 and this tribute to his life was installed in the synagogue in his memory. We are looking for his grave in Jerusalem on the Mount of Olives .


The book which mentions him is:

Kirya neemana, ve-hu korot adat Israel ba-ir Vilna [= A worthy City, History of the Jewish Community in Vilnium =Treue Stadt. Geschichte d. Juden in Wilna.]

Fuenn, S. J. (Samuel Joseph ben Yitzhak Isaac Finn, Fu¿nn, Fuen)(1818-1890)

Published by Yosef Reuven ben Menachem Mann ROMM, vilna vilnius, Wilno, Lithuania, 1860.

Page 180 mentions the inscription in the Synagogue from 1796 .

This is the sign found in the excavations today by Ann Moshman of Nebraska who is excavating in our program:

It is dated 1589 the apparent founding date for the “Tzedakah Gedolah-(literally: Great k6Charity/philanthropy) a prominent Social Welfare Society of the Jewish Community of Vilna until 1931 when their assets were transferred to the Jewish Community.




Dr. Richard Freund