Refugees and Emigration
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.
The Boat Is Full
This Swiss film is the haunting story of a group of Jewish refugees who escape from Nazi Germany and seek asylum in Switzerland. Soon the village in which they are hiding becomes aware of their true identity and their depoortation seems imminent. They are forced back to the German border - not by the Nazis, but by ordinary Swiss civilians who are indifferent to the plight of refugees. Switzerland's immigration policies were so stringent that by 1942 the country was declared "a full lifeboat." The struggle of those who sought freedom is explored in depth and with comapssion. (JHS/MS+). Color. (104 min)
The Film tells the story of Jewish immigration to Palestine under the difficult conditions that prevailed during the British Mandate. The film illustrates how immigrants were forced to hide in countries such as France, Italy and Cyprus while awaiting a ship that would transport them to freedom. Authentic archive footage (JS/MS+). Color & B/W. (48 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)
From 1933 until 1941, large numbers of scholars, intellectuals and artists fled Europe for America as totalitarianism took hold in Germany and Italy, as well as those nations that fell to Nazi occupation. The story of these émigrés, many of who found refuge together with safe haven for their talents and energies in the United States. (HS+) Color & B/W. (116 min)
For Tomorrow: The Story and Poetry of Hilda Stern Cohen
The story of Hilda Stern Cohen (1924-1997), a Holocaust survivor, poet, and Jewish educator. Her remarkable life spans an idyllic childhood in a small rural village in Germany, the horrors of the Lodz Ghetto and Auschwitz, the limbo of a displaced persons camp in Austria, and the redemptive value of spirituality and a reclaimed Jewish identity in post World-War II America. A unique experiment in telling stories of the Holocaust for future generations. Special features include Elizabeth Bolton's performance of song settings of nine poems by Hilda Stern Cohen, as composed by William Gilcher. 90 minutes. DVD.
History Undercover: Diplomats for the Damned
When most people think about the plight of Jews who tried to escape the horrors of Hitler's Nazi regime, the story of Anne Frank and her family immediately comes to mind. Most students read The Diary of Anne Frank and know about the fear and foreboding that her family faced, as they relied on the loyalty of friends and acquaintances to hide them from Nazi troops. While the story of Anne Frank's family is best known, they were many other Jewish families who tried to escape, and in some cases they succeeded. Foreign diplomats played an important and little known-role in helping thousands of Jews flee Nazism. Dozens of such diplomats, from more than twenty-five countries, risked their lives and careers by secretly issuing unauthorized visas, falsifying papers, and cutting backroom deals to rescue thousands of Jews from Nazi death camps. This program profiles the stories of four of these diplomats, interviewing their descendents, as well as some of those whose families were shepherded to freedom by these diplomats' heroic acts. Diplomats for the Damned would be appropriate for middle and high school level classes in American, European, and World history. 50 minutes
Into the Arms of Strangers – Stories of the Kindertransport
Just prior to WW II, an extraordinary rescue operation aided the youngest victims of Nazi terror. Thousands of Jewish and other children were transported from German held lands to foster homes and hostels in Britain. This Oscar winning documentary is filled with rare archival footage and gripping remembrances by the child survivors, rescuers, and parents of the heroic Kindertransport. (6th grade+). (117 min) Study guide can be downloaded.
The Last Sea
When Holocaust survivors realized that they had no home to return to, nor families to welcome them, thousands set out on the perilous journey to Israel. The dramatic story of this Jewish exodus from Europe to Israel is told in this 1979 production. Witnesses describe traveling by truck and by train, journeying by foot over the Alps, and crossing the sea aboard dangerously overcrowded ships. Note: May have some graphic footage. (JHS?MS+). Color. (90 min.)
Lost Boys of Sudan
Lost Boys of Sudan is an Emmy-nominated feature-length documentary that follows two Sudanese refugees on an extraordinary journey from Africa to America. Orphaned as young boys in one of Africa's cruelest civil wars, Peter Dut and Santino Chuor survived lion attacks and militia gunfire to reach a refugee camp in Kenya along with thousands of other children. From there, remarkably, they were chosen to come to America. Safe at last from physical danger and hunger, a world away from home, they find themselves confronted with the abundance and alienation of contemporary American suburbia. Lost Boys of Sudan directed by Megan Mylan and Jon Shenk, won an Independent Spirit Award and screened theatrically in 70 cities across the U.S. to strong audience and critical praise. The film was broadcast nationally on the PBS series POV in the fall of 2004 and earned two national Emmy nominations. DVD. 87 minutes.
Lost Boys of Sudan
Winner of an Independent Spirit Award and named Best Documentary at the San Francisco International Film Festival, this film follows two teenage Sudanese refugees on an extraordinary journey from Africa to America, offering a gripping and sobering peekinto the myth of the American Dream. In the late 1980s, Islamic fundamentalists in Sudan waged a war on the country's separatists, leaving behind ober 20,000 male orphans, otherwise known as "lost boys." For those who survived this traumatic ordeal and found their way to refugee camps, some were chosen to participate in a resettlement program in America - a distant place so presumably full of hope and opportunity that the Sudanese sometimes call it Heaven. But what if a free ticket to "Heaven" turned out to be anything but? The film focuses on Santino and Peter, members of the Dinka tribe, during their first life-altering year in the United States. Safe at last from physical danger - but a world away from home - the boys must grapple with extreme cultural differences as they come to understand both the abundance and alienation of contemporary American life. 87 mins. DVD only.
Nightmare: The Immigration of Joachim and Rachel
Shows the harrowing experiences of two young orphans who escape not only from the Warsaw Ghetto but also from a train carrying passengers bound for certain death. Black and white scenes describe their trip to freedom. Freedom is the United States where they are welcomed by a caring uncle. (JHS/MS+). B/W & color. (24 mins.)
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)
The Port Of Last Resort
Little-known story of nearly 20,000 European Jewish refugees who fled to Shanghai in the years 1938-1941. Shanghai did not require papers for entry and became a 'last resort' as a safe haven from the terror of the Nazis. Archival materials, personal and published writings by refugees, relief reports and secret documents, illustrated with rare home movies, photographs, newsreels and propaganda. (General audiences). B/W & color. (79 mins)
Safe Haven: A Story of Hope
1000 European refugees were selected to come to the U.S. as guests of President Roosevelt. For eighteen months there were sheltered at Fort Ontario, NY – the only World War II refugee camp in the U.S. – while the U.S. government debated their fate. (38 mins.)
Sugihara: Conspiracy of Kindness
In the fall of 1939, Hitler's murderous wave was sweeping through Eastern Europe. In the face of the Nazi onslaught, Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara set about saving thousands of lives. But his struggle was not fought on the battlefields or in war rooms. He used his power as a diplomat to rescue fleeing Jewish refugees. As Japan's consul to Lithuania, Sugihara risked career, disgrace, his life, and the lives of his family defying Tokyo by writing transit visas for refugees desperate to escape persecution. In August 1940, Sugihara spent upwards of sixteen hours a day issuing visas, until Soviet-occupied Lithuania forced the final shutdown of the country's last remaining consulates. In the end, more than 2,000 Sugihara-stamped passports allowed hundreds of families to flee Europe through Russia to safe havens abroad. Today it is estimated that more than 40,000 people owe their very existence to Sugihara's heroic acts of humanitarianism. Through unprecedented access to Sugihara's family and their personal home movies, photos, and papers, as well as on-location interviews with Sugihara survivors and their descendants, viewers will have a chance to rediscover the seminal events of World War II through a new lens - and in the process, come to appreciate the life and legacy of one man who did make a difference. Sugihara is the definitive telling of this moving story and a monument to a true hero - a man who, with no possible hope of reward and every likelihood of suffering, had the courage to act on his innermost beliefs, to save the lives of thousands. His extraordinary acts of kindness continue to reverberate the world over. Sugihara: Conspiracy of Kindness is a film by diane estelle Vicari and Robert Kirk. Presented by Dentsu Inc., in association with David Rubinson and Creative Production Group LLC. Funding provided by the Freeman Foundation, the US Japan Foundation, the Righteous Persons Foundation, Janet and Mitchell Feldman, Rita and Larry Horn, the Fishoff Family Foundation, Dentsu Inc., and Creative Production Group LLC. Additional funding provided by public television viewers. Copyright © 2005 WGBH Educational Foundation 82 minutes. DVD only.
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.
The Forgotten Refugees
The Forgotten Refugees: A documentary about the mass exodus of Jews from Arab countries and Iran in the 20th century. The Forgotten Refugees explores the history and destruction of Middle Eastern and North African Jewish communities, some of which had existed for over 2,500 years. Employing extensive testimony of survivors from Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Iraq and Iran, the film recounts the stories - of joy and of suffering - that nearly a million individuals have carried with them for so long. Segments on the contributions of Middle Eastern Jews to politics, business and music, testify to the enormously rich cultures which fleeing Jews left behind. The film weaves personal stories with dramatic archival footage of rescue missions, historic images of exodus and resettlement, and analysis by contemporary scholars, to tell the story of how and why the Arab world's Jewish population declined from one million in 1945 to several thousand today. 2005. 45 minutes. DVD only.
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)
They Were Not Silent: The Jewish Labor Movement and the Holocaust
Tells the story of the anti-Nazi and rescue activities of the American Jewish labor movement, including their aid to the Underground fighters of the ghettoes of East Europe, and their assistance to Holocaust survivors in refugee camps across the globe. The video features rare archival footage and photos, plus interviews with labor veterans, Holocaust survivors and scholars. Directed by Roland Millman 1998, color, 30 mins., VHS
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)