WATERTOWN, NY (April 21, 2022) – On one day each year across Israel, air raid sirens sound and all activity comes to a halt for 2 full minutes to mark Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day). This year, Yom HaShoah – an important opportunity to stop to reflect on the Holocaust and the impact of anti-Semitism – falls on April 27th. Here at WPBS we are marking this somber occasion with an entire afternoon of exceptional documentaries on Sunday, April 24th plus a special presentation on the evening of Tuesday April 26th, as follows:
Sunday, April 24th
12:00 noon – Nobody Wants Us: The remarkable story of refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Belgium who were trapped on the SS Quanza in Virginia. They were devastated to learn that the U.S. was turning away refugees at this critical time in history. Eleanor Roosevelt and others tried to save them. Would the U.S. take them in?
1:00 pm – Blind Love: A Holocaust Journey Through Poland w/Man’s Best Friend: The film follows the journey of 6 blind Israelis to Poland, where, with the help of their beloved guide dogs, they encounter the difficult history of the Holocaust. The “blind love” between owner and dog, is contrasted to the “blind hate” of Nazi Germany they encounter on their journey.
1:30 pm – A Call to Remember: David Schaecter takes viewers on an emotional journey through his life story – from a bucolic childhood amidst vineyards in Czechoslovakia to his and his brother Jakob’s struggle for survival in Auschwitz, and finally, to David’s dramatic escape from the Nazis. David, the only member of his family to survive the Holocaust, would eventually immigrate to the United States and help found the Holocaust Memorial Miami Beach in the hopes of educating a younger generation about World War II and the Holocaust. Through David’s story, viewers witness the cruelty of intolerance, but also the power and will of the human spirit.
2:00 pm – Harbor From the Holocaust: In a Holocaust story of hope, 20,000 Jews find refuge in Shanghai during World War II. The film explores the relationship of the refugees and their host city, and the survivors who carried on the traditions that would have been consigned to oblivion.
3:00 pm – Return to Auschwitz: The Survival of Vladimir Munk: This moving documentary focuses on the life of Czech Holocaust survivor and retired SUNY Plattsburgh professor Vladimir Munk. The program follows Vladimir in 2020, at age 95, as he returned to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp, one of the camps where he was held prisoner during World War II. This trip was his last chance to honor 30 of his close relatives, including his parents who were murdered there.
4:00 pm – Big Sonia: In the last store in a defunct shopping mall, 91-year-old Sonia Warshawski – great-grandmother, businesswoman, and Holocaust survivor-runs the tailor shop she’s owned for more than thirty years. But when she’s served an eviction notice, the specter of retirement prompts Sonia to revisit her harrowing past as a refugee and witness to genocide. A poignant story of generational trauma and healing, Big Sonia also offers a laugh-out-loud-funny portrait of the power of love to triumph over bigotry, and the power of truth-telling to heal us all.
Tuesday, April 26th
8:00 pm – We Remember: Songs of Survivors: Holocaust survivors partner with songwriters to turn their life experiences into powerful music for a community concert. The resulting songs, filled with joy and healing, celebrate the extraordinary lives of this resilient generation.
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