Ted Blum and Robert Ratonyi in conversation with Maria Saporta

Two authors will discuss their respective works of family history.

Author Talks
Tuesday, May 28 2024 @ 7pm

Not-yet-members. $10.

Members. $5.

Insiders. Free.

Copies of Calculated Risks and From Darkness Into Light will be available for purchase at the event.

Woodruff Auditorium is located inside McElreath Hall. Doors and cash bar will open at 6pm. In partnership with The Breman, guests are also invited to arrive early to learn more about researching family history from experts from Atlanta History Center, The Breman, and other organizations.

About Calculated Risks and author Ted Blum

Calculated Risks is the inspirational story of one family's journey to the United States in the early twentieth century to escape persecution and seek a better life.

Meet Henry, a World War I prisoner of war; Martin, whose intuition and resourcefulness facilitated his family's escape from the clutches of the Nazis; Eva, who navigated a journey rife with fear, loss, and trauma in her quest for safety; and Edward, a dedicated family archivist and the son of immigrant parents, who diligently preserved their stories, legacies, and memories for generations to come.

Ted Blum is an accomplished lawyer, business leader, and community volunteer. In his debut book, Ted shares his family's inspirational and timeless stories of heartache, survival, and hope. A product of Hungarian Jewish immigrants, he explores how the legacy of our ancestors shapes us into the people we are meant to be. Ted lives in Atlanta with his wife of more than thirty years, Leah. Together they have  three grown children, Josh, Abby, and Evan, and a wonderful daughter-in-law, Michelle.

About From Darkness Into Light and author Robert Ratonyi

Robert Ratonyi was born in Budapest in 1938, the year of Kristallnacht, when Nazi Germany annexed Austria into the Third Reich, signaling Hitler's intention to start the Second World War in 1939. He survived the Holocaust, despite both of his parents being deported, his father in 1942 and his mother in 1944, to different concentration camps. His mother survived and raised Robert during the Soviet communist dictatorship. He was a freshman at the Budapest University of Technology, where he became involved in the bloody uprising against the regime in October 1956. After the Russians crushed the uprising, he fled to Austria and emigrated to Canada in February 1957, where he met his wife Eva, also a Hungarian Holocaust survivor.

In Montreal, Canada, Robert restarted his life, learning English, working during the day, and continuing his studies in an evening engineering program at a local university. In 1961, he transferred to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States, where he received his Bachelor and Master degrees in Engineering. He also received  a Master of Science degree in Management from Drexel University's and embarked on a new career in business and finance.

Robert Ratonyi had a successful business career at several large companies, such as General Electric, Exxon, Xerox and Contel. After a corporate career, in 1986 he and his wife started a mergers and acquisitions firm in Atlanta, Georgia. After the fall of the "Iron Curtain", he also worked as an investment banker in Budapest for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in 1993 and 1994 to help the Hungarian government's privatization program.

As a child Holocaust survivor, he regularly speaks to Middle and High school students on behalf of the William Breman Jewish Heritage and Holocaust Museum, and the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust. He has spoken at churches, educational institutions, and civic organizations throughout Georgia. He and his wife live in Atlanta and are avid supporters of the arts, education, local Jewish organizations, and Israel.

In 2020 he published his memoirs of his early life in a book titled From Darkness into Light – My Journey Through Nazism, Fascism, and Communism to Freedom. 

About the Moderator

Maria Saporta, executive editor of the SaportaReport, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state. From 2008 to 2020, she wrote weekly columns and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children. She launched SaportaReport in February 2009.

This event is presented in partnership with The Breman.

Promotional language provided by publisher.

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