Category Archives: GRIVA

The Power of Personal Stories

Featured speaker: Nancy Wright Beasley

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Nancy Wright Beasley, author of Izzy’s Fire:  Finding Humanity in the Holocaust, and The Little Lion:  A Hero in the Holocaust will share her 23-year journey of researching and writing about Holocaust survivors.  Her books are based on individual accounts via written memoirs, tape recordings and personal interviews. These stories are told through the eyes and experiences of thirteen members of five Jewish families.  Her presentation will focus on some of the many obstacles she faced, as well as welcomed bits of humor, as she gathered information and uncovered records and documents. Her work exemplifies the importance of preserving, and the powerful impact, personal stories bring to family histories.      

Miss the event? Catch the video at

Nancy Wright Beasley’s journalistic career spans over 40 years, including seven as a state correspondent for The Richmond News Leader and 16 as a personal columnist and contributing editor for Richmond magazine.

She has won national and international awards for her work. The culmination of a year’s research project titled “Break the Silence” resulted in a 21-page special section about domestic violence and sexual assault in Richmond. Also printed as a stand-alone publication, for Richmond magazine, this work won national awards in 2010, best in show in specialty writing and a first place in investigative reporting in Virginia Press Association competition, and an award of excellence in the Best of Virginia competition sponsored by the International Association of Business Communicators, as well as a silver award designated by the National City and Regional Magazine Editorial and Design Awards.

Her first book, Izzy’s Fire: Finding Humanity in the Holocaust, published in 2005, was chosen as the best nonfiction book written that year by the Virginia Press Women and the National Federation of Press Women. Izzy’s Fire was also nominated for a People’s Choice Award in a competition sponsored by the Library of Virginia and the James River Writers Conference in 2005.   Later, she published The Little Lion: A Hero in the Holocaust, a historical novel for young adults which was also adapted for the stage.   A second play, Saving Sara, was based on The Little Lion and debuted in 2018.   In 2006, Virginia Press Women named Ms. Beasley as their Communicator of Achievement in 2006 and the Richmond YWCA cited her as one of the Ten Outstanding Women in Central Virginia.  The Brandermill Rotary Club named her as the Rotarian of the Year in 2016.

In 2019, she formed Chutzpah and Courage.   Chutzpah and Courage, a 501c3 organization, works to advocate for an end to anti-Semitism, discrimination, bullying and bias, especially among school children.  The nonprofit entity provides funding to enable Ms. Beasley to continue offering presentations about her work to local, regional, national, and international audiences.

Here are a few helpful sites to get you started with Jewish genealogy research:

Register for the fall conference until 6 January 2022 and get access to the recording!

J. Mark Lowe was the featured speaker at the GRIVA’s 2021 Fall Conference on Saturday, October 2 and provided a day full of ideas, stories and even a few gift suggestions!

The recorded program is available until 6 January 2022 and you can register for the conference in order to receive access to the recording! See registration information in the 2021 Fall Conference tab above.

We hope to see you in-person in 2022!