The dramatic story of the heroic Danish resistance movement against Hitler. Filmed in Denmark, it is a firsthand account of the role played by the Danish people in saving their Jewish countrymen from the Nazis. ( JHS/MS+.) B/W. (28 min)
A documentary, directed by Martin Doblmeier, about the life, times, and eventual fate of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the Lutheran minister who was imprisoned by the Nazis and hanged in 1945. Interest in Bonhoeffer shows no sign of abating, not least because his practicality and rootedness-and the struggle, which intensified in his last months, to reforge the role of faith in the world-demand that we engage with his example rather than simply revere it. The film is straightforward, and no less affecting for that; we are led through the chronology of Bonhoeffer’s life, including his two trips to America, and even shown the code by which family members smuggled messages into his cell. As far as talking heads go, there are perhaps too many commentators; happily, however, they are outclassed by Bonhoeffer’s contemporaries, including his close friend Eberhard Bethge. The voiceover, for the readings from Bonhoeffer’s books and letters, is by Klaus Maria Brandauer. -Anthony Lane 90 minutes. DVD only
In the year 2000, in a war barely noticed outside Yugoslavia, the indicted war criminal Slobodan Milosevic fought to hold power. He controlled a battle-hardened army, a tough police force, and most of the news media. But he underestimated his opponents, led by a student movement called Otpor! (Serbian for "resistance"), who attacked the regime with ridicule, rock music, and a willingness to be arrested. Their courage and audacity inspired others to overcome their fear and join the fight. Otpor! students were the shock troops in what became an army of human rights and pro-democracy activists who systematically undermined police and army loyalty to Milosevic and forced him to call early elections. When Milosevic refused to accept his defeat at the polls, the people responded with a general strike. As normal life ground to a halt, Serbs by the hundreds of thousands descended on the capital on October 5 to seize the parliament in a dramatic triumph for democracy. This PBS-produced film narrated by Martin Sheen reveals how ordinary people can overthrow a genocidal dictator and deliver him to justice. This is highly recommended by the Coordinator of Educational Outreach as a vehicle to address issues of resistance and individual responsibility. (56 minutes) For the classroom, go to http://www.pbs.org/weta/dictator/classroom/
This video permits the ashes of Auschwitz to bear eloquent testimony. The focus of this documentary is a heretofore little-known story of resistance. Accomplished through the smuggling of gun powder from a nearby munitions factory, the inmates succeeded in the destruction of Crematorium #4. The film features thirteen survivors, each of whom contributes to the piecing together of this incredible story of heroism. (HS). Color. (30 min)
Based on an extraordinary true story, Defiance is an epic tale of family, honor, vengeance, and salvation during World War II. The year is 1941 and the Jews of Eastern Europe are being massacred by the thousands. Managing to escape certain death, three brothers take refuge in the dense surrounding woods they have known since childhood. There they begin their desperate battle against the Nazis. Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber, and Jamie Bell star as brothers who turn a primitive struggle to survive into something far more consequential - a way to avenge the deaths of their loved ones by saving thousands of others. DVD. Rated R, 137 minutes.
Sobibor, a Nazi death camp in Poland where more than a quarter of a million Jews were annihilated, was also the site of the largest prisoner escape of World War II. Based on years of research, this 1987 dramatization of the heroic uprising that took place in Sobibor movingly portrays the people themselves and their trip through Polish forests to freedom. VHS and DVD. (HS+). Color. (120 min)
An examination of the many ways that Jews resisted the Nazis. Over documentary footage, the voices of those who survived the war are woven together to give viewers a sense of the differing dimensions of Jewish resistance in Europe before and during World War II. Note: May have some graphic footage. (JHS/MS+). B/W. (90 min)
Documents the story of Jewish underground fighters and partisans who fought the German Army in the forests of Eastern Europe during World War II. Highlights of the film include a reenactment of a daring escape by Jewish prisoners and a labyrinth of sewage canals underneath the Vilna Ghetto exposed by former Partisans who utilized them in their rescue operations of Jews. Rare footage from the restricted archives of the Soviet military museums. The film ends with the visit to the controversial memorial site of Babi Yar. (JHS/MS+). Color. (52 min)
Based on the real-life events and featuring a first-rate ensemble cast, this compelling and harrowing film chronicles a unit of Auschwitz’s Sonderkommando, a special squad of Jewish prisoners, who staged the only armed revolt that would ever take place at Auschwitz. For advanced students only. 108 minutes. (DVD only)
Six Volume set from invasion to the final toll. 1. Invasion 2. Decision 3. Ghetto 4. Mass Murder 5. Resistance 6. Final Toll 3 disc DVD set.
A review of documents, authentic films and photographs of the Holocaust. Episodes of Jewish resistance to the Nazi regime are depicted during a visit to Yad Vashem, the Jerusalem museum built as a memorial to both the victims of the Holocaust and the heroes of the Ghetto resistance. Much of the footage was shot by the Germans. (General Audience). B/W. (23 min.)
During the Holocaust, a handful of young people chose to write and record in diaries throughout Europe. The documentary film developed by MTV, I’m Still Here: Real Diaries of Young People Who Lived During the Holocaust, weaves together excerpts of young writers’ diaries covering the years 1937 - 1944 and is based on the book Salvaged Pages: Young Writers’ Diaries of the Holocaust, by Alexandra Zapruder. The companion study guide aims to help educators use the voices of these young writers from the film and the book as a springboard for discussion and reflection on the value of these diaries as historical sources and literary records. It also provides an avenue for discussing the power of our words to make a difference in the world. DVD. 48 minutes.
Jacob Heim is stopped by the police in the Jewish ghetto for being out after curfew. As his penalty, he must report to the Commander. On the police station radio, he overhears that the Red Army is advancing. New hope for himself and his fellow sufferers! He secretly passes on the news to the others, pretending that he has his own well-hidden radio. Jacob becomes a hero in spite of himself and the faith of all those in the ghetto hangs on his invented news reports. Original German version. English subtitles. VHS. 101 minutes.
Featuring archival black and white footage and revealing interviews, this program tells the courageous story of 24 year old Mordechai Tenebaum and the small group of resistance fighters who attempted to defeat the Nazi scheme to eradicate the Jewish ghetto in Bialystok, Poland. Through the testimony of those who served in the resistance and residents of Bialystok, viewers gain a unique appreciation of the hardships and impossible choices faced by targets of the Third Reich. Excerpts from Nazi propaganda films are also included. (Grades 7 and up.) B/W. (150 min.)
This documentary explores Jewish resistance during World War II. It recounts the untold tale of the moral dilemma facing the Jewish youth who organized an underground resistance in the Vilna Ghetto, and fought as partisans in the woods against the nazis. This film features interviews in Hebrew, Yiddish and English, with the former partisans in Israel, NYC, Montreal and Vilna, interspersed with rare archival footage from 1939-1944. English sub-titles. (JHS?MS+). Color & B/W. (130 min)
Set in Remies, France in 1941 and based on a true story, Pigeon recounts a rare and startling act of resistance in which a woman chooses not to be a bystander to a fellow male, Jewish, passenger who is without proper identification. This 11-minute film by filmmaker Anthony Green was an official selection of the 2004 Toronto International Film Festival and grand-prize winner at the 2005 New York Jewish Student Film Festival. A unique creative entry point for students to explore themes of identity, resistance, social justice and Jewish values and learn to critically analyze film. The film is accompanied by a resource guide that provides background information, texts, lesson plans and activity ideas, and additional resources for teachers. The guide is a flexible tool, allowing teachers to choose which areas of the film they wish to expand on in their classes and then adapt the material and outside links to best meet the needs of their students. Audience: Middle School, High School, College, and Adult DVD. 11 minutes.
When most people think of the Holocaust, they remember the six-million Jews who were put to death by the Nazis. With the exception of the Warsaw ghetto uprising, the impression persists that there was little resistance by the Jews to Nazi genocide. In fact, historians estimate that as many as 30,000 Jews fled to the forests of Eastern Europe, armed themselves and actively fought the Nazis. 60 minutes
This powerful and provocative feature documentary explores the motivating principles and activities of the anti-Nazi resistance inside Germany from 1933 to 1945. This film is deeply moving portrayal of individual destinies, charting with dramatic power, passion and depth, the development of the underground resistance. This film highlights the tension between an individual’s responsibility to a personal ethical code and to a tyrannical political system. (HS+). Color & B/W. (113 min) VHS & DVD
Walter Suskind was a German Jew living in Amsterdam who was forced to serve as the Jewish head of deportation at the Hollandsche Schouwburg (the Jewish Theater in Amsterdam), used as the main deportation site in Holland. Using his fluent German, his skills as an actor and businessman, and unfathomable courage and tenacity, he and an intrepid group of resitance workers orchestrated the escape of close to 1000 Dutch children who were marked for transport to death camps. In this feature-length documentary we learn about an unsung hero of the Holocaust in Holland, the Resistance members who worked with him, and five of the nearly 1,000 children they saved. Their stories are interwoven in a warm and personal style, creating a tale of moral dilemmas and unfathomable courage in the face of human horror and choiceless choices. 82 minutes. DVD only. http://www.morsephotography.com/suskindfilm/home_welcome.htm
Before the Second World War, more than 1.5 million Jewish children were living in Europe. By the end of the Holocaust, less than one in ten had survived. SECRET LIVES tells the emotional stories of a small number of those who were saved by non-Jews in extraordinary acts of bravery and kindness. These men and women of uncommon decency did everything from bringing Jewish children into their families to securing hiding places in closets, attics, or hastily dug bunkers. Directed by Academy Award winner and former hidden child Aviva Slesin, this captivating documentary reveals what happened between the children and their rescuers and shows ho this experience forever changed their lives. Highly recommended by the Coordinator of Educational Outreach. High School and up. DVD only. Color and B/W. 72 minutes.
2005 Academy Award Nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, this is the true story of Germany’s most famous anti-Nazi heroine brought to thrilling, dramatic life. Julia Jentsch stars in a luminous performance as the fearless activist of the underground student resistance group, The White Rose. Armed with long-buried historical records of her incarceration, director Marc Rothemund expertly re-creates the last six days of Sophie Scholl’s life: a heart-stopping journey from arrest to interrogation, trial and sentence in 1943 Munich. Unwavering in her convictions and loyalty to her comrades, her cross-examination by Gestapo quickly escalates into a searing test of wills as Scholl delivers a passionate call to freedom and personal responsibility that is both haunting and timeless. 117 minutes. DVD. In German with English subtitles.
As a teenager in Nazi Germany, Jutta is shocked to discover she is Jewish. She joins the German resistance and meets Helmuth, an injured soldier. The two become sweethearts and soon co-conspirators in the final plot to assassinate Hitler. This would sound like a pitch for a Hollywood blockbuster were it not all true. Surviving Hitler: A Love Story is in fact a harrowing tale of war, resistance, and survival. At the center of the documentary is a love story for the ages, with riveting narration by Jutta herself, original 8mm footage (shot by Helmuth) and, miraculously, a happy ending. DVD only. 65 and 55 minute versions.
SWIMMING IN AUSCHWITZ interweaves the stories of six Jewish women imprisoned inside the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp during the Holocaust. The women maintained a spiritual resistance against their Nazi aggressors through prayer, community, music and even humor. They speak of camp families and faith, uplifting one another while trying to retain their humanity. Their compelling testimonials reveal the power of laughter and community, even in the face of evil. DVD. 63 minutes.
Terezin to the Czechs. Theresienstadt to Germans. It was a Nazi concentration camp where some of the world’s greatest musicians, composers, artists and theatre professionals continued to create despite the near certainty that they would be transported to Auschwitz. Indeed, the Nazis exploited their art as propaganda – ‘evidence,’ they said, that refuted emerging allegations of a Holocaust. They even made a movie to glorify the lie. After World War II, the lives and work of these astonishing people were, for the most part, lost to history. All that began to change, however, with the fall of the Iron Curtain and the opening of the Czech Republic to the West. The long forgotten story of these people and their struggle is being rediscovered - in art museums, concert halls, school auditoriums and on the web. Survivors are talking - and a new generation is listening. The irony of this revival is that the art, music and theatre that Hitler used to help cover up the Final Solution is, today, a memorial to the very people he despised. Terezin: Resistance and Revival is a film and print companion that tells the inspiring story through the experiences of people who were there – both survivors and those who left behind testimony to their experience - as well as those who, today, are determined to recall and preserve this incredible experience for generations to come. DVD. 88 minutes.
Non-Jewish resistance fighters were sent to Nazi concentration camps during World War II. In this video, they bear witness to the Jewish Holocaust and provide a moving reminder about the actions of the Nazis in Mauthausen, Buchenwald and Auschwitz-Birkenau. Viewers meet Frenchman Pierre Troadec who was sent to Mauthausen after being captured by the Gestapo for rescuing American flyers in France; Reidar Dittman, who was arrested and sent to Buchenwald for sabotaging the construction of German ships in Norway; Czech resistance fighter Vera Laska, who hid Jews and fought the Nazis until she was sent to Auschwitz and Irina Kharina, a young Red Army soldier captured behind German lines. The video is narrated by Arnost Lustig, a Jewish survivor of Auschwitz and twice winner of the National Jewish Book Award. (HS+). Color & B/W. (30 min.)
Dramatizes the Warsaw Ghetto uprising of 1943, during which an underground collective of Polish Jews dared to defy the Nazis. Close-knit collaborators battle against the Nazis assigned to clear all Jews from Warsaw. The uprising was eventually crushed but director Jon Avnet expertly maintains a sense of courage and hope amidst the palpable horror of the Warsaw Ghetto. Combining physical and historical accuracy with intimate character details, Uprising is suspenseful without being sensational, thus honoring one of the greatest symbolic victories in all of Jewish history. (HS+). Color. (177 min)
Legacy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Stage production of the life of one of the great heroes of the twentieth century. Bonhoeffer awaits execution in a prison cell and the audience listens to his struggles with evil, injustice and God. (General Audience). Color. (50 min)
This BBC documentary reconstructs the ten day resistance of a haft million Jews, cut off in a heir mile city area by Nazi forces. A very powerful film of courage with a message of hope, and a warning for the future. (JHS/MS+). B/W. (51 min.)
This video utilizes archival film footage, authentic still photographs, along with actual testimonies of survivors of the ghetto to help us understand that brief and courageous chapter in Jewish history. Beginning with the Nazi invasion of Poland, we are led step-by-step through the deportation, life in the ghetto, the formation of a resistance organization and finally the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Narrated in English. (HS). Color & B/W. (22 min.)
While the vast majority of the German people enthusiastically supported Nazism, a tiny group of university students had the courage to stand up and speak out against the Third Reich. THE WHITE ROSE dramatizes the true story of how a small number of German students printed and distributed thousands of anti-Nazi leaflets throughout the country. (HS+). Color. (108 min.)