An American hero you never learned about in school! This film tells the remarkable yet little known story of Al Schwimmer, a TWA flight engineer who assembled a group of American pilots and others to rescue the newborn state of Israel. They succeeded in their secret and daring mission but were tried and convicted by the US government. “Al Schwimmer is the greatest gift America gave Israel.” – David Ben-Gurion (more…)
Not to be missed! Join us for a remarkable true story told by French-Israeli filmmaker Yonathan Levy in Das Kind, winner of Best Film at the European Independent Film Festival in Paris. Irma Miko, a concert pianist born in Czernowitz, joined the French Resistance in Paris in 1941. Her impossibly dangerous mission was to convert occupying German soldiers to the cause of the French Resistance. She narrates her history to her son, André Miko, as the two of them visit places from her past. Then we witness her reunion with one of the Nazi soldiers whom she had successfully transformed into a Resistance fighter during the war. Levy’s cinematically creative approach to storytelling, which includes photo projections and theatrical set pieces performed by Irma’s granddaughter Sarah Miko, brings to life one woman’s heroic struggle. (more…)
Did you know that there were Jewish refugees in Iowa during World War II? Tune in to learn about this fascinating and untold story. Meet Edith Lichtenstein Froehlig, originally from Limburg, Germany, who was brought by the Quakers to Iowa, where she lived in a converted schoolhouse called Scattergood Hostel as one of 185 Jewish refugees. She will be in dialogue with Dr. Michael Luick-Thrams, the world’s expert on this story, and they will take your questions. We will also watch a short film on this history called Out of Hitler’s Reach produced by the PBS station in Iowa. (more…)
In June 1940, Aristides de Sousa Mendes, the Portuguese Consul-General in Bordeaux, France, issued life-saving visas to thousands of Holocaust refugees in defiance of his government’s direct orders – an action for which he paid a heavy personal price. In June 2013, filmmaker Semyon Pinkhasov followed a group of visa recipient families, along with members of the Sousa Mendes family, as they embarked on the Sousa Mendes Foundation’s Journey on the Road to Freedom, retracing their families’ footsteps. They were “searching for Sousa Mendes” – looking for traces and clues of a lost history in an effort to understand their personal pasts.
4 PM US EASTERN TIME, 1 PM US PACIFIC TIME
In February 1943, at the height of the deportations from France, a daring group of Jewish and Christian women banded together to stage the largest single rescue operation in wartime Paris. Please join Anne Nelson, author of Suzanne’s Children, and Joanne Gilbert, author of Women of Valor, as they describe these women — including Suzanne Spaak, Sophie Schwartz, Frida Wattenberg and others — who risked everything to fight back against evil.
Meet our panel of Fiddler superstars! Join us for a Chanukah program celebrating the triumph of the human spirit. Steven Skybell is the award-winning Tevye of the Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish production that recently took New York by storm, with musical direction by Zalmen Mlotek. Samantha Massell played Hodel in the recent Broadway revival, and Mimi Turque performed in the original Broadway cast. We will watch Max Lewkowicz‘s dazzling Fiddler – A Miracle of Miracles produced by Patricia Kenner and then spend an uplifting hour together. Lechaim!
Go behind the scenes and get to know some of the colorful characters who participated in Operation Zebra — the 1947-49 mission to help rescue newborn Israel’s 600,000 Jews and provide a safe haven for Holocaust survivors. The heroes include the Jewish James Bond, Yehuda Arazi, the operation’s whimsical chief pilot, Sam Lewis, and its cowgirl flight instructor, Elynor Rudnick. Meet Arazi’s grandson and namesake, and Lewis’ daughter, who was a teenager during the operation, as well as Boaz Dvir, who captured their tales in the 2015 award-winning PBS documentary A Wing and a Prayer and the 2020 critically acclaimed book Saving Israel. (more…)
A beautiful and touching film! This program will present the Youth Aliyah movement of the 1930s and its rescue of thousands of Jewish teenagers from Germany and Poland who would otherwise have been trapped by the Nazis. One of the leaders of this movement was the American-born Henrietta Szold, who was also the founder of Hadassah. We will watch a short documentary film, Broken Branches, about Michla Gelfand, a Polish girl of fourteen who was saved in this way. The film is gorgeous, with a mixture of animation and live action, and this is a rescue operation that is not widely known. Not to be missed! (more…)
Return to Calais is a short documentary film linking refugees past and present. In 1940, Paulette Szafran was a Belgian-Jewish teenager who fled the Nazi invasion of Brussels. She crossed into France and arrived as far as Calais, where her family found temporary shelter during the catastrophic bombing. After the siege of Calais, the family was compelled to return to Belgium, where Paulette spent the war years in hiding. In 2018, after Paulette died, her daughter Edith Goldenhar embarked on a journey to retrace her mother’s exodus using her vivid wartime diary as a guide. In Calais, she met with today’s refugees and with Care4Calais volunteers, showing how empathy connects the dots of displacement across geography and generations. (more…)
Eva Zelig‘s documentary An Unknown Country tells the story of European Jews who fled Nazi persecution to find refuge in an unlikely destination: Ecuador. This small South American country, barely known at the time, took them in when most had closed their doors. Featuring first hand accounts, family photos and archival material, the film opens a window on the exiles’ perilous escape and difficult adjustment as they remade their lives in what was for them an exotic, unfamiliar land. (more…)