America and the Holocaust
2nd Annual Holocaust Memorial Lecture Richard Breitman
The September 23, 1999 Cohen Center Holocaust Memorial Lecture delivered by Richard Breitman at Keene State College entitled, "Official Secrets: What the Nazis Planned, What the British and Amercians Knew."
About The Holocaust
A young American woman, daughter of a survivor of the Nazi death camps, tells about her search for knowledge of the Holocaust and explains why the study of the Holocaust is important now. It includes firsthand accounts from a number of survivors as well as documentary footage. (30 Min)
America and the Holocaust
In 1937, Kurt Klein emigrated to the United States from Germany to escape the growing discrimination against Jews that had become a terrible fact of life following Hitler's rise to power. Klein worked hard to establish himself so that he could obtain safe passage for his parents out of Germany. But, like other American Jews, he struggled with State Department red tape and indifference as he sought to rescue his family. Americans were becoming aware of the stories coming out of Europe about a campaign to force Jews out of Germany and about the horros of Kristallnacht in 1938. But american society had political, economic, and social problems of its own, including serious unemployment brought on by the Depression and long-standing -- and rising -- antisemitism. Over 100 antisemitic organizations blanketed the U.S. with propaganda, businesses refused to hire Jews, and certain hotels and clubs proudly proclaimed themeselves "Restricted." Even the government was not immune to antisemitic sentiments. America and the Holocaust paints a troubling picture of the U.S. during a period beset by antisemitism. It reveals a government that not only delayed action but also suppressed information and blocked efforts that could have resulted in the rescue of hundreds of thousands of people, including the family of Kurt Klein. VHS and DVD. 90 minutes. WGBH production.
America And The Holocaust: Deceit And Indifference
Beginning with the tragic events of Kristallnacht in 1938 and extending through the liberation of the death camps in 1945, "America and the Holocaust" explores the painful and difficult story of America's response to the murder of six million Jews by Nazis and their collaborators. Using interviews, archival photos and documents, and home movies and film from the time, the program traces the tragic story of America's inaction on two levels: Through the experiences of Kurt Klein, a Jewish refugee trying to save his parents, and through documented evidence of the U.S. Government's official policy. (87 min)
Anne Frank In Maine
The Junior High School class in Kennebunkport, Maine learns about the Holocaust. Students question adults who lived during those years. The class decides to perform The Diary of Anne Frank. Townspeople, students and their parents comment on the Holocaust study program and its effect on the children involved. (JHS/MS+). (28 min)
The story of Varian Fry, an American journalist and editor of LIVING AGE magazine who saved over 200 refugees, trapped in Vichy France, from the Gestapo. Fry and the Emergency Rescue committee persist for 13 months until he is expelled from France. In 1996 Fry was honored at Yad Vashem as the first American "Righteous Among The Nations". He was also awarded the Eisenhower Liberation medal by the US Holocaust Memorial Council in 1991. B/W & Color. (26 min)
Breadline: The Great Depression at Home
Part of the People's Century series, Breadline -- The Great Depression at Home documents the serious economic decline faced by the United States of America and felt throughout the world after the boom of the 1920s. Utilizing archival footage and new materials, the film illuminates such events as the stock market crash of 1929, FDR's New Deal, and the rise of fascism in Europe. This is a fine, informative film for those with an interest in the subject matter, as well as for teachers who may find it useful in a classroom setting. ~ Perry Seibert, All Movie Guide. 60 Minutes VHS
Campaign To Remember
Promotional tape from U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council. Narrated by Ted Koppel. Contains some very strong graphic footage of horrors of the Holocaust. (17 min)
The Century: America's Time (Vols 1-6)
Visual Encyclopedia of America's history from1900–1999. Recounts the defining moments, people and trends that have shaped the times. (1) 1900–1929 [135 min] (2) 1930's [90 min] (3) 1940's [160 min] (4) 50's and 60's [135 min] (5) 1970's [90 min] (6) 1980's and '90s. [90 min]
The Double Crossing: The Story Of The St. Louis
The ship St. Louis left Nazi Germany on May 13, 1939 with over 900 Jewish refugees bound for freedom in Havana, Cuba. The Cuban government reneged on its promise and refused them entry into the country. Although 734 of the refugees held quota numbers for eventual admission inot the United States at some future date, the effects of the Great Depression, isolationism, and antisemitism all contributed to an anti-immigrant mood, and permission to enter here was refused. The ship returned to Europe where the refugees were accepted by Great Britain, France, Belgium and Netherlands. Archival footage, plus numerous interviews with survivors of the St. Louis voyage, document this experience and sensitizes us to the plight of all refugees, wherever they may be. (Adult). Color & B/W. (29 min)
Eagles Over Auschwitz: "The Triumph of the Return"
Eagles Over Auschwitz is the compelling story of the historic flyover of Auschwitz-Birkenau by three Israeli F-15s. Meet Yitzhak Cohen, a survivor of the camp, and Al Weber, and American Jewish aviator who flew over Auschwitz on a bombing mission with the 15th Army Air Force on September 13, 1944. Hear their personal reflections of that time and watch with the officers of the IDF as the F-15s fly over the camp on September 4, 2004. Produced by Yad Vashem. 26 minutes.
Echoes Of Silence
A very effective and moving promotional film for the Martyrs Memorial and Museum of the Holocaust in Los Angeles. (15 min)
For The Living
Reaching across time and place, For the Living follows the creators of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum as they journey for the nation's capital to the death camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the forests of Poland, and the streets of Warsaw in their efforts to create a permanent, living reminder of the Holocaust. Their struggle to tell a story that is impossible to understand leads them beyond the world of two dimensional displays to unusual and resonating artifacts and, finally, to the voices of the victims themselves. (General Audiences). Color. (57 min)
From Swastika to Jim Crow
Only months after Hitler seized power in 1933, Jewish intellectuals who had held prestigious positions in Germany's renowned universities were targeted for expulsion. Those who dared to oppose the edicts were met with brutal suppression. Often leaving with little more than the clothes on their backs, many of these scholars fled to America, hoping to continue their academic careers. They soon found themselves in a strange and mysterious country, a nation reeling from the Depression and ripe with anti-Semitic and anti-German sentiment. While the most famous refugees, like Albert Einstein, were welcomed into the hallowed halls of Eastern academia, most of these refugee scholars faced an academic world that was aloof, if not downright hostile. Much to their surprise, many of them were welcomed into a group of colleges that the vast majority of white American professors ignored - the historically all-Black colleges in the South. For the Black colleges - including Howard University, Hampton Institute, and Tougaloo and Talladega Colleges - the refugee professors provided the opportunity to add great talent to their faculty; for the professors, the arrangement provided a new home, a classroom of students eager to learn, and an insider's look at an America that few ever see. While most of these pairings between Jewish refugees and Black colleges began as marriages of convenience, very often they blossomed into love matches that lasted a lifetime.
Hawaii and the Holocaust
Homo Sapiens 1900: The Quest to Improve the Human Race
Eugenics, Racial Hygiene, Selective Breeding and Sterilization. Unearthing startling footage and long-hidden documents, HOMO SAPIENS 1900 is a stunning exploration of the history of eugenics, race hygiene and the quest to improve the human race. Beginning around 1900, eugenics movements in the United States, Germany and elsewhere spawned government sanctioned research projects, with the goal of improving the human species through biological means - including selective breeding, sterilizations, and weeding out 'degenerate' members of society. This film reveals the social and political undercurrents of the feverish quest to build a superior race, and exposes how "eugenic theory has been used to justify the most virulent racism in the name of science." (NY Times) 85 minutes (DVD only)
Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust
An audience favorite at more than 50 film festivals around the world, and the centerpiece of dozens of panels and conferences at theaters, universities, and museums from Warsaw to Washington, DC, IMAGINARY WITNESS tells a provocative and mostly unknown story of the 60-year relationship between Hollywood and the atrocities of Nazi Germany. With scenes from over forty films, rare newsreels, and interviews with leading scholars, filmmakers, and witnesses to the events portrayed, IMAGINARY WITNESS takes the viewer on a 60-year journey from the American ambivalence and denial during the heyday of Nazism, through the silence of the post-war years, and into the end of the 20th century. The film explores not only the question of how an industry that sells fantasy has dealt with one of the most horrifying episodes in modern world history, but also how the movies themselves reflect America's ever-evolving relationship to the events of that era. At the core of the film is an ethical and moral debate about portrayal. Is it even possible to imagine on screen the unimaginable? Should the movie industry even undertake such an endeavor? Ultimately, the film asks hard questions: about the uneasy relationship between American popular culture and the Holocaust, about the responsibility of filmmakers in their portrayal of history, and about the power of film to affect the way we look at ourselves.
Lost in Laconia
During a time when people who were branded and stigmatized as "feebleminded" and a danger to society were banished to a life of isolation and total segregation, thousands of children and adults were institutionalized in large state operated institutions throughout the country. In the case of New Hampshire, that place was the Laconia State School. This documentary traces the history of the institution from its initial beginnings as the New Hampshire School for the Feebleminded in the early 1900's until its closure in 1991. The purpose of this film is to provide a thought-provoking and inspirational documentary that examines the social values and cultural ideals of the twentieth century relative to individuals who were labeled feebleminded, deficient, and idiots and to their families who sought to care for them in the way society dictated. 67 minutes. DVD
Lost Peace: Ideals for a United World Fail
From WGBH's People's Century series. "The morning of November 11, 1918, Harry met me about 100 yards from the battery position...He had a piece of white paper, just about as big as your hand. It says "Cease firing on all fronts - 11.11.18 General John Pershing.' I thought that was the prettiest piece of paper I ever saw." - Macinlay Wooden, American soldier The First World War bathed the new century in blood: Nine million lost their lives in a merciless war of attrition. A whole generation was traumatized by the horror of the trenches - and vowed that war would be a thing of the past. LOST PEACE revisits the popular hopes and experiences in the years following World War I - and the looming threat of a new nationalism: despite Woodrow Wilson's promise of a "people's peace," old prejudices refused to die and nationalist passions again began to rise. Defeated nations were left out in the cold, resentful and unreconciled. Fascism and militarism spread while pacifist movements fought an increasingly unsuccessful rearguard action to preserve the dream of peace. By the late 1930s, people had to choose between avoiding war at all costs, or taking up arms to resist aggression. Fifty-five million lives were about to be lost in second world war. 60 minutes.
Maine Survivors Remember The Holocaust
This video offers a clear and compelling introduction to the Holocaust for general audiences. Interviews with eight Maine survivors and an American liberator are interwoven with dramatic archival films, photographs, maps, and music. This film is designed for a single classroom period and is appropriate for middle school and high school students. (JHS/MS/HS). Color & B/W. (43 mins)
Memory Of A Moment
In this MacNeil Lehrer Newshour segment, two men whose lives touched forty years ago are reunited on the anniversary of the liberation of Buchenwald. Robert Waisman, who had been imprisoned in the German concentration camp, and Leon Bass, a black American who participated in the liberation of the camp, recall their experiences. As a black soldier in the segregated army, Bass, now a history teacher comments: "Human suffering is universal. Your pain is my pain." (JHS/MS+). B/W & color. (10 min.)
Courtroom drama which follows an attorney who agrees to defend her Hungarian immigrant father against charges of war crimes committed 50 years earlier. As she searches for evidence to establish innocence, she also examines her doubts about his past. VHS and DVD. (126 min)
More than 30 years after World War II, deniers challenge Mel Mermelstein, a survivor of Auschwitz-Birkenau, to prove in a court of law that anyone was gassed at Auschwitz. Starring Leonard Nimoy, this stirring film, based on a true story, tells of one man's fight for justice. Mel Mermelstein (Leonard Nimoy) must convince a U.S. Court to take judicial notice of the Holocaust for the first time in U.S. judicial history. Mel accepts the challenge as his duty as a survivor of Auschwitz. (HS+). Color. (94 min.)
Opening The Gates Of Hell: American Liberators Of The Nazi Concentration Camps
American veterans, who were among the first troops to enter the Nazi concentration camps, relate their memories of that experience. Includes graphic archival footage of the camps. (Selected Audiences). Color & B/W. (45 min.)
Out Of Hitler's Reach
Story of the Scattergood Hostel for European Refugees 1939-1942. The Hostel in Ohio provided a refuge to persons fleeing Germany prior to and during WWII. The story of the Ohio citizens who assisted others in need (13 min)
Based on a true story, this powerful dramatization depicts how citizens of Skokie, Illinois - a small town with a higher than average percentage of Nazi death camp survivors - became divided over an impending street demonstration by neo-Nazis. Among the issues raised is free speech vs. social responsibility, reacting to racism, and becoming involved vs. remaining a bystander when confronted with a moral dilemma. Stars Danny Kaye, Carl Reiner, Eli Wallach, and Brian Dennehy. (JHS/MS+). Color. (121 min.)
Telling Their Stories: NH Holocaust Survivors Speak Out
As seen on NH Public Television, this film by NH filmmaker David DeArville highlights the lives of four Holocaust survivors who came to live in New Hampshire: Stephan Lewy (Germany), Joseph Regensburger (Germany), Ruth Segal (Poland) and Anna Berkovits Klein (Hungary). Stephan would escape in 1940 and would serve in Patton's Army as a "Ritchie Boy." Joe served in the French underground and eventually escaped to Switzerland - where he and his family were interned. Ruth would escape with the help of "Righteous Among the Nations" Japanese consul Chiune Sugihara although much of her family that was left behind died in Teblinka. Anna will survive the Nazi camp system including Stresshof and Bergen-Belsen. The film was produced by Robert Spiegelman and Fred Wolff in association with the Cohen Center for Holocaust Studies. VHS or DVD. (65 minutes) *This film is free for NH teachers and libraries and may also be purchased by contacting Tom White, email@example.com, 603-358-2746.
On June 22, 1938, 70,000 fans crammed into Yankee stadium to watch what some observers have since called "the most important sporting event in history." Millions more tuned in to hear a blow-by-blow description on the radio. The rematch between the African American heavyweight Joe Lewis and his German opponent Max Schmeling was riveting - "one hundred and twenty--four seconds of murder," as one newspaper put it. But for most spectators the fight was much more than a boxing match; it was an historic event heightened with symbolic significance, both a harbinger of the civil rights movement and a prelude to World War II. In this first feature-length documentary about the momentous encounter, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE captures the anticipation the bout generated, the swirl of events leading up to it, the impact Louis's victory had on black America and its significance for Jews on both sides of the Atlantic. The surprise will be Schmeling's role in Hitler Germany and his true feelings towards Louis and the Holocaust. PBS Home Video. 90 minutes.
The Jewish Americans
THE JEWISH AMERICANS is a three-part PBS documentary that explores 350 years of Jewish American history. Written and directed by award-winning filmmaker David Grubin, THE JEWISH AMERICANS is a journey through time, from the first settlement in 1654 to the present. It is about the struggle of a tiny minority who make their way into the American mainstream while, at the same time, maintaining a sense of their own identity as Jews. Focusing on the tension between identity and assimilation, THE JEWISH AMERICANS is quintessentially an American story, which other minority groups will find surprisingly familiar. Narrated by actor Liev Schreiber, this landmark series features Jewish Americans who have made significant contributions to American life - from Louis D. Brandeis and Ruth Bader Ginsburg to Henry Morgenthau, Hank Greenberg, Betty Friedan, Molly Goldberg, Carl Reiner, Sid Caesar, and Tony Kushner. However this story is also about Jewish American tailors and shopkeepers, soldiers and bankers, peddlers and merchants, labor organizers and civil rights activists, all of whom also helped shape the American landscape. DVD. 6 hours.
The Morgenthau Story
"The Morgenthau Story", (2008) is a documentary by Apo Torosyan in which he interviewed three descendants of Ambassador Henry Morgenthau. From 1913 to 1916, Henry Morgenthau served as U.S. Ambassador in Constantinople (today Istanbul in Turkey). During the Armenian Genocide, which started in April 1915, he appealed to the Turkish Ottoman leaders to stop the killings, without success. In English. 56 minutes. DVD only.
The Mortal Storm
This film was released on June 14, 1940 and was one of the most direct anti-Nazi Hollywood films released before the American entry into the Second World War. Due to the antisemitism in the U.S. the family whose story is focues on is never identified as Jewish, but rather, only "non-Aryan." However, this film had a significant impact on American attitudes. The film was based upon the 1938 book by Phyllis Bottome. The Mortal Storm is the story of Hitler's rise to power as seen through the microcosm of one German family. What may seem small and personal is instead towering, a bold revelation of the brutality of the Nazi regime that so infuriated propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels that he banned all MGM movies in Germany. In their fourth and final teaming, Margaret Sullavan and James Stewart play sweethearts, evoking the tender, romantic empathy that always marked their work together. They lead a sterling cast in director Frank Borzage's sweeping tale of the political and human chaos that rips a family apart, sets child against parent and lover against lover, and leads to savagery, to sacrifice and to heroism. In a small German university town in 1933, a birthday celebration for Professor Viktor Roth is interrupted by the news that Hitler has been appointed chancellor. Roth, who is non-Aryan, his daughter Freya, and Martin Breitner, a family friend who loves Freya, are apprehensive about Hitler's rise, but Roth's stepsons, Otto and Erich Von Rohn, and Fritz Marberg, Freya's new fiancé, are enthusiastic. The town's Nazis soon begin to inflict violence on their ideological adversaries and on non-Aryans, and Roth's stepsons leave his house. Freya breaks with Fritz and comes to return Martin's love, but the lovers are separated when Martin, who has helped a non-Aryan friend leave the country, is stranded in Austria. For refusing to acknowledge a difference between Aryan and non-Aryan blood, Roth loses his teaching position and is interned in a concentration camp, and his family's frantic efforts to locate him result only in a brief visit before his mysterious death. On their way to Austria, Freya and Mrs. Roth are detained for carrying Roth's manuscript, and Freya is forced to stay in Germany indefinitely. Martin, however, returns for Freya and as the couple make their way through a difficult mountain pass, they are in sight of Austria when a Nazi patrol, led by Fritz, locates them. The lovers reach the border, but Freya dies shortly after from a gunshot wound incurred during the chase. B & W. 100 mins.
The Political Dr. Seuss
This documentary traces the evolution of Theodor Seuss Geisel's (1904-91) art and political philosophy and shows how he deftly combined his delightful, otherworldly creations with moral parables and progressive ideas. Most Americans don't know, for example, that during World War II he drew editorial cartoons for the left-wing New York newspaper PM, or that he made army propaganda films with Frank Capra. Many readers didn't know that The Sneetches was inspired by Seuss's opposition to anti-Semitism, that Horton Hears a Who! was a political statement about democracy and isolationism, or that The Lorax and The Butter Battle Book were parables about the environment and the arms race. Dr. Seuss's true genius may lie in the fact that all of this was done with such humor and finesse, that few realized he was being political at all. THE POLITICAL DR. SEUSS traces Theodor Geisel's life from his boyhood in Springfield, Massachusetts through his final days living atop Mt. Soledad in La Jolla, California. The film explores his little-known World War II era cartoons, his educational and propaganda film work-including the "Private Snafu" films he made with Chuck Jones-and Design for Death, his Academy Award-winning documentary on Japan, which is seen here for the first time since its original theatrical release in 1947. In-depth interviews with his widow Audrey, his biographers Judith and Neil Morgan (Dr. Seuss and Mr. Geisel) and Richard H. Minear (Dr. Seuss Goes to War), his long-time Random House publisher Robert Bernstein and editor Michael Frith, and historian Michael Kazin-not to mention Geisel's own words through voice-overs-bring the man to life. THE POLITICAL DR. SEUSS is not only an intriguing portrait of Theodor Geisel but also a fascinating lens through which to view the complex political and social history of the 20th century. DVD. 84 minutes.
The Ritchie Boys
The story of German Jews who escaped Nazi Germany only to return as US Army intelligence soldiers. For the first time, the surviving 'boys' speak on camera about their rigorous intelligence training, their experience on the frontlines and their unit's special assignments. In never-seen archival footage, whose quality and colour are dazzling, the film tells of their courage and heroism. Note: Stephan Lewy of NH (Telling their Stories: NH Holocaust Survivors Speak Out) was one of these 'Ritchie Boys.' 93 minutes (DVD only)
The The Wave
The Wave powerfully re-creates the classroom experiment in which a high school teacher formed his own "Reich" to show why the German people could so willingly embrace Nazism. It raises critical questions about individualism and conformity: How can peer pressure usurp individual rights? When does dedication to the group cross the line from loyalty to fanaticism? (VHS, 46 min; DVD 102 minutes)
To Bear Witness
Filmed at the 1985 Liberators' Conference in Washington, DC., it presents an extraordinary series of interviews with the survivors and liberators of the Nazi concentration camps. These remarkable men and women speak to the strength of the human spirit in the face of adversity. It has a profound effect on both student and adult audiences. (Adult). Color. (41 min.)
Tomorrow Came Much Later
A group of high school students from Ohio joins Holocaust survivor Bertha Lautman in a poignant and ultimately uplifting journey to the camps where the Nazis had interned her, and also to Israel, where Lautman felt she had been reborn following her liberation from the camps. They also visit famed Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal in Vienna. The teens then discuss their reactions to the trip. Middle grades and up. (JHS/MS+). Color & B/W. (58 min.)
Total War: World War II and the Home Front
The Second World War was the first modern conflict in which millions more civilians died than soldiers. As economic production became essential to military success, civilians were conscripted into factories -- and suddenly became fair game. In Total War, eyewitnesses from Britain, Germany, Russia, Korea, Japan, and the United States tell the story of the civilians -- children, sisters, brothers -- who suffered and died in the Second World War. Residents of Plymouth, Tokyo, and Hamburg remember the air raids; Russian peasants recall the siege of Leningrad; Japanese soldiers and Korean slave-laborers describe the brutality of war in Asia. Throughout, interviewees remember the extraordinary suffering of a people's war like none before. The people remember: Rosie the Riveter, shipbuilding, Pearl Harbor, air raids, the Blitz, the Siege of Leningrad, the atom bomb. DVD. Viewing time: 1 hour.
Starring Academy Award winner William Hurt as Varian Fry, the American Schindler. An American journalist working in Europe at the outbreak of World War II, Varian Fry was appalled at the Nazi atrocities he witnessed. He became driven to fight against nazi brutality, recognizing that action had to be taken if Jews, artists, intellectuals and European heritage were to survive. VARIAN's WAR is the true story of this forgotten hero, who at great risk to his own life, saved 2,000 people from certain extermination. DVD only. 122 minutes.
Voyage Of The St. Louis
Definitive documentary tells the story of the infamous St. Louis episode as recalled by passengers who make the crossing in the summer of 1939, and in readings from the diary of the ship's captain. The German ocean liner carried 917 Jewish refugees from nazi Germany to Cuba in the spring of 1939. The story of the revoking of their entry visas by the Cuban dictator, the subsequent denial of the U.S. to grant them asylum, and the eventual death of many of the passengers in nazi camps make this a compelling historical account. (General Audience). B/W. (52 min)
A Walk Through The 20th Centry: "The Democrat and the Dictator"
The time is 1933 to 1945, the years in which Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Adolf Hitler dominated the world stage and directed its action. Bill Moyers traces the public careers of FDR and Hitler and draws penetrating comparisons between them. (JHS/MS+). Color. (58 min)
A Week Of Remembrance: The Dedication Of The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
National Day of Remembrance ecumenical service at National Cathedral-Day of Remembrance ceremony at Capital Rotunda Tribute to liberators and rescuers at Arlington National Cemetery. Remember the children ceremony at The United States Holocaust Museum. (45 min.)
Who Shall Live And Who Shall Die
Directed by Laurence Jarvik. Asking "Could the Jews of Europe have been saved?," this unflinching documentary examines the unwillingness of Americans (including much of the American Jewish establishment) to rescue persecuted European Jews during World War II. The production argues that the American Jewish community bears a heavy burden of guilt for failing to pressure the Roosevelt administration strongly enough to help the Jews of Europe. Note: graphic footage. (HS+). B/W. (90 min.)