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Charlotte Amalie
Saturday, July 13, 2024


May 27, 2002 – As part of the V.I. Cultural Heritage Institute's "Family History in the Virgin Islands" lecture series, Katina Coulianos will speak Wednesday evening, May 29, about Jewish ancestry in the islands.
"There is a long history here," she said, stating that the Jewish community on St. Thomas was at one time "huge."
She will speak about the migration of Sephardic Jews to the Virgin Islands in the 1800s. A lot of well-known Virgin Islands names have their roots in that Jewish influx, she said, mentioning as examples Hoheb, Maduro and Monsanto. Her own family has lived on the island for more than a century. Hailing from Europe and the Mediterranean, her ancestors founded the I. Levin store and building, which are named for her grandfather.
Her talk also will cover the two local Jewish cemeteries. "She knows more about the cemeteries than anybody else," Lisanne Turnbull, the Cultural Heritage Institute's program coordinator, said.
Coulianos is an advocate for preserving historic Jewish structures, including the synagogue on Crystal Gade.
Turnbull said the lecture series has been developed to encourage people to explore their own family histories. In fact, Coulianos will show those who attend her presentation some ways to explore their own family history, including resources they can use for the project.
The institute previously held forums on Hispanic and Danish heritage. Thursday's program, which is free, begins at 6 p.m. at the institute offices on 5-6 Kongens Gade. For more information, call Turnbull at 774-9537.

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