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Eyewitness History by Joshua Cohen

What was it like to hear about the JFK assassination? Or America’s triumph over Hitler? Or seeing Queen at Live-Aid? Our past is a collection of stories that bring us to now. Welcome to the Eyewitness History podcast, where we view history through the eyes of the people that watched the events that shaped our world. I'm your host, Josh Cohen, and these are their stories.

If you have a story from history that you would like to share, I would love to hear it!
Go to and tell us your story!

This show is part of the Spreaker Prime Network, if you are interested in advertising on this podcast, contact us at
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Tetris Company President Henk Rogers Talks Seeing Game For The First Time, The Iron Curtain, and His Current Mission
May 30, 2023 - 44 min
Henk Rogers is the President of the Tetris Company and a pioneer in the video game industry. In the 1980s, Rogers brought role-playing games to Japan and turned a little-known game called Tetris into an international phenomenon after intense negotiations with the Soviet Union and Nintendo. His efforts helped establish the Game Boy as a market leader and made Tetris one of the most popular games of all time. Rogers’ story became folklore in the gaming industry and is the subject of the 2023 Apple TV+ film “Tetris.” Today, Rogers is the founder of 10 companies and non-profit organizations focused on renewable energy, space exploration, and ending the use of fossil fuels on Earth. A near-fatal heart attack in 2005 made Rogers identify his true missions in life and led to him founding the Blue Planet Foundation, a non-profit organization that has been instrumental in implementing renewable energy policies in Hawaii. Realizing this model needed to be exported to the rest of the world, Rogers 2021 founded the Blue Planet Alliance, an organization helping island communities disproportionately affected by climate change transition from being reliant on importing fossil fuels to using 100 percent renewable energy. Rogers is also the founder of Blue Planet Energy, a global leader in renewable energy storage systems, and the International Moonbase Alliance, an organization with the goal to build sustainable settlements on the Moon and Mars and establish Hawaii as a leader in the space industry. Today, Rogers continues to be an influential figure in both the gaming industry and the sustainable energy sector. He has received numerous awards for his contributions to both fields, including being inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences’ Hall of Fame in 2008 and named CEO of the Year by Hawaii Business Magazine in 2015. He currently lives between his off-grid ranch in Hawaii and New York City and continues to be an active entrepreneur pursuing his passion for making a positive impact on the world.This show is part of the Spreaker Prime Network, if you are interested in advertising on this podcast, contact us at
Oscar Winning Makeup Artist Discusses Warren Beatty, James Caan, and Meryl Streep
May 23, 2023 - 57 min
Doug Drexler is a visual effects artist, designer, sculptor, illustrator, and a makeup artist who has collaborated with such talents as Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, James Caan, Meryl Streep, and Warren Beatty. He began his career in the entertainment industry working for makeup artist Dick Smith on such films as The Hunger and Starman. He has also contributed to Three Men and a Little Lady, The Cotton Club, FX, Manhunter and Dick Tracy.Dick Tracy earned Drexler an Oscar, as well as The British Academy Award and the Saturn Award for his special makeup effects on characters such as Big Boy Caprice (played by Pacino) and Mumbles (played by Hoffman). Two Emmy nominations in the same field followed for three years working on Star Trek: The Next Generation, where he performed such tasks as aging Captain Picard for "The Inner Light". In 1992 Drexler moved over to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as designer, digital artist and effects artist. He continued in that capacity on the subsequent Star Trek films as well as Star Trek: Voyager. In April 2001 Drexler worked as senior Illustrator and CGI designer on the fifth Star Trek series, Enterprise. Following Enterprise, he was hired by Visual Effects Supervisor Gary Hutzel as CG Supervisor on Battlestar Galactica, "Caprica", "Blood and Chrome", and "Defiance". Doug won two Emmy Awards and a Visual Effects Society Award for Galactica.This show is part of the Spreaker Prime Network, if you are interested in advertising on this podcast, contact us at
Author Jackie Kohnstamm Reveals A Deeply Personal Account Of Her Family’s Experience Of The Holocaust
May 19, 2023 - 29 min
Jackie Kohnstamm grew up in North London, where she still lives. She studied an ancient Jewish community in France for her PhD, never guessing how the skills acquired then would later help her delve into her own family story. She has lectured in higher education and written short stories and plays for BBC radio and the stage. Jackie is nourished by lengthy meals with friends and by her garden on the wild side. If she hits a winning shot at tennis, that’s a bonus. The Memory Keeper is her first book. One night some time after her mother’s death, Jackie Googled her grandparents’ names on a whim. Where previous searches had come up blank, this time she had a surprise: only four days earlier, two Stolpersteine (‘stumble stones’) had been laid outside the house in Berlin where they had once lived. Someone – a stranger – had commissioned this memorial to her grandparents, each listing their name, year of birth, date of deportation to Theresienstadt and date of their murder by the Nazis. Here, then, was the first step, and what followed was a remarkable story of loss, discovery, community and memory. - A deeply personal account of one family’s experience of the Holocaust, showing the devastating impact of seemingly tiny decisions made during Hitler’s rise. - Contains family photographs, official documentation and – most poignantly – transcripts of letters sent between the family members in the 1930s and 1940s, as Jewish lives were increasingly restricted and Kohnstamm’s mother and her siblings tried to persuade their parents to flee. - A moving insight into the work being done by groups all over Germany to commemorate and remember those lost during the Holocaust – and a vital reminder of just how easily fascism can rise when apathy or hatred prevails.This show is part of the Spreaker Prime Network, if you are interested in advertising on this podcast, contact us at
Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff Describes Working Under President Bush, Taking Down Enron, and Building The Patriot Act
May 16, 2023 - 41 min
Michael Chertoff is an American attorney who was the second United States Secretary of Homeland Security to serve under President George W. Bush. He was the co-author of the USA PATRIOT Act. Chertoff previously served as a United States circuit judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, as a federal prosecutor, and as Assistant U.S. Attorney General. He succeeded Tom Ridge as U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security on February 15, 2005. Since leaving government service, Chertoff has worked as senior of counsel at the Washington, D.C. law firm of Covington & Burling. He also co-founded the Chertoff Group, a risk-management and security consulting company.For links to the 9/11 episodes Josh references in the interview, see below:Dave Paventi - Wilson - O'Connor - Sanchez - show is part of the Spreaker Prime Network, if you are interested in advertising on this podcast, contact us at
Founding Editor of People Magazine Discusses The Rise Of The Magazine, Writing, and His New Book
May 11, 2023 - 34 min
Landon Y. Jones (Lanny) is an author and magazine editor. His most recent book is Celebrity Nation: How America Evolved into a Culture of Fans and Followers, to be published in May 2023 by Beacon Press. His previous books are William Clark and the Shaping of the West (Hill and Wang, 2004), The Essential Lewis and Clark (Ecco/HarperCollins, 2000) and Great Expectations: America and the Baby Boom Generation (Putnam, 1980). The latter coined the phrase “baby boomer” and was nominated for the American Book Award in Nonfiction. From 1989-97, Jones was the head editor of People magazine at Time Inc., the most successful magazine in publishing history. While at People, Jones directed the editorial planning and launching of three new magazines: Who Weekly (1992), the Australian version of People; In Style (1994), the successful celebrity lifestyle monthly; and People en Espanol (1996), the first general-interest magazine published for the U.S. Hispanic market. He serves on the board of The Rita Allen Foundation, a philanthropy with a special focus on transformative ideas in their early stages. He has previously served on the boards of The Alzheimer’s Association , American Rivers, and Princeton Alumni Corps. He is a former member of the Graduate Advisory Council of the Princeton University Department of English. He and his wife Sarah live in Princeton, NJ.This show is part of the Spreaker Prime Network, if you are interested in advertising on this podcast, contact us at
Former CIA Discusses His Time Fighting Off A Prisoner Revolt In The Battle Of Qala-i-Jangi, Stories from Afghanistan & Losing His Shoes
May 9, 2023 - 36 min
David Tyson retired from the CIA’s Directorate of Operations in 2020 after a 25-year career. The majority of his service was overseas; most of his postings and deployments were in Central Asia, the Caucasus region, and South Asia. David was a member of Team Alpha, the first group of U.S. personnel inserted behind enemy lines in Afghanistan after 9/11. During that deployment, David and the team worked closely with U.S. Special Forces (ODA 595) along with Afghan allies. David began his intelligence career as a linguist and interpreter, achieving fluency in Russian, Uzbek, Turkmen, Turkish, and Farsi/Dari. He is a recipient of the CIA’s Distinguished Intelligence Cross, the Agency’s highest award for valor, and the Agency's Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal. Prior to working for the Agency, David served in the U.S. Army, both enlisted and as an officer. He has a BA in International Relations and Russian Language from West Chester State University, and two master’s degrees from Indiana University, in Central Asian Studies and Russian Studies. David was born and raised in Pennsylvania and currently lives with his family in rural Virginia. Find out more at This show is part of the Spreaker Prime Network, if you are interested in advertising on this podcast, contact us at
On The 53rd Anniversary of The Kent State Shootings, An Eyewitness Tells Her Story
May 4, 2023 - 38 min
Paula Stone Tucker was a witness to the May 4, 1970 shootings at Kent State University. A retired clinical psychologist, she worked with survivors of trauma and abuse. In her younger days she was a reporter for the Akron Beacon Journal and the Daily Kent Stater. She grew up in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio and graduated from Kent State. She splits her time between northeast Ohio and The Villages, Florida where she writes, plays the flute and is learning to play golf. Her son is a musician in New York City. This is her first book. She is available for interviews. You can also contact her at or on Facebook at Paula Stone Tucker, Author.This show is part of the Spreaker Prime Network, if you are interested in advertising on this podcast, contact us at
Savage Garden's "Truly, Madly, Deeply" Producer Recalls Knocking A Hole In The Wall to Create Hit
May 2, 2023 - 41 min
Still in love with making records, Charles Fisher is currently based in his home studio in Melbourne. He is renowned for his great ears (finding and developing talent; selecting hits), his canny arrangement skills and his psychological skills, getting the best out of a range of personalities. The extraordinarily versatile ‘song doctor’ is at home with rock guitars (Radio Birdman, Hoodoo Gurus), popular and orchestral arrangements (Olivia Newton-John, Air Supply, The Seekers), and many other forms including pop and electronica (Savage Garden, 1927). In 1997 Fisher won ARIA Producer of the Year for Savage Garden’s Savage Garden; ‘Down on Me’ (Hoodoo Gurus); ‘Far Shore’ (The Seekers); plus ‘I Am Australian’ for Judith Durham, Russell Hitchcock and Dr Yunupingu (RIP) of Yothu Yindi. In the early 21st century Fisher began producing overseas-based acts including Olivia Newton-John, whose ‘(2)’ album went platinum; Swedes Ace of Base and Canadians SoulDecision, whose single ‘Faded’ went to No.1 in Canada and No.6 in the US and whose album No-One Does It Better went platinum too. Find out more about him here: show is part of the Spreaker Prime Network, if you are interested in advertising on this podcast, contact us at
Vietnam "Tunnel Rat" Discusses George Patton, His Tours of Duty, and... Barbara Walters?
April 25, 2023 - 66 min
Right out of high school Nick Sanza entered the U.S. Army 2nd and 15th Infantry, 3rd Division working in teletype and in decoding/crypto. He served during the Cold War in the Berlin Border Patrol in Wildflecken at the East and West German border and three other tours of duty. Nick’s family had four generations in the U.S. Army: His grandfather rode with the Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War; his father is the last driver for General George Patton from the beaches of Normandy to the outskirts of Berlin during World War II; and his son was a sniper in Special Forces during the Iraq and Afghanistan conflict and gave his life for his country. During Vietnam, he was what was known as a “Tunnel Rat” which we go into in a great amount of detail. After serving Vietnam, Nick decided to try his hand in Hollywood. Nick Sanza is known in the entertainment industry as “Napa Nick”. He started in the film and television industry with the television series Falcon Crest (CBS) as a second unit production manager, location scout and script development. During his time with Falcon Crest from 1982 to 1989 he also was a stuntman and stunt coordinator for Francis Coppola Productions, Paramount Studios, Castle Rock Production (Rob Reiner), NBC, CBS, Universal Television Productions and Dick Wolf Productions. When Falcon Crest went off the air, Nick became a production manager, location manager and stuntman for over 60 national commercials and “Movie of the Week” for ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and Universal Studio Television Productions. In 1992 Barbara Walters, working for ABC, hired Nick as a production manager and location manager to set up a television special for ABC’s 20/20 spotlighting Julia Roberts who was filming in the Napa Valley in a feature film called “Dying Young”. Two months after this special was aired, Nick was hired as a producer and investigative journalist for ABC’s Good Morning America.This show is part of the Spreaker Prime Network, if you are interested in advertising on this podcast, contact us at
Key Battles Of American History - An Unsettled World Germany and the Allies 1918-1930
April 20, 2023 - 16 min
The roots of the Second World War in Europe lie within the First World War. The 1919 Treaty of Versailles formally ended the war between Germany and the western Allies, but the geopolitical situation it created was far from stable. Ten years later, the Great Depression made things even worse. In this episode preview from Key Battles of American History (the first in the World War II in Europe series), James and cohost Sean McIver discuss the unsettled state of Europe between 1918 and 1930 and the gradual fracturing of the uneasy peace that it enjoyed.To continue listening to Key Battles of American History, check out the links below!Apple Podcasts: more episodes of Key Battles of American History:Mexico and Texas (1836-1844): / Taylor’s War (1845-1846): / Scott’s War (1847): / to Key Battles of World War II in Europe: / show is part of the Spreaker Prime Network, if you are interested in advertising on this podcast, contact us at
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Meet Your Host
Meet Your Host
Josh Cohen is a journalist and commentator living out of the Midwest.

He has written for a number of reputable publications.

His fascination with history is in the story of our existence and how it is told. Keeping the tradition of storytelling alive in Eyewitness History is what drives him.
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