Almonds and Raisins
Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 1:00 PM

In 1927, The Jazz Singer, a Jewish film made in Hollywood but with assimilationist values, helped introduce sound to the movies. Thousands of Jews, some leaving the pale of their Lower East Side, New York settlement for the first time, saw and were thrilled to discover a story which spoke directly to their lives – albeit in a foreign language – English. Yiddish film makers took note of this potential audience and between 1927 and 1940 made over 100 films - in Yiddish.

Yiddish film makers confronted the assimilationist message of The Jazz Singer and fears of the immigrant society – dreams of opportunity, assimilation, and social betterment, of separation from family and of failure. The films fulfilled the refugees’ need for recognition and affirmation of the hardships experienced in the new country and of nostalgia for the old.

Almonds and Raisins narrated by Orson Welles, is a film history of this phenomenon – the Yiddish cinema – as remembered by those actors, directors and producers who created it and through excerpts from the greatest films of that vanished era.


Desperate Hours
Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 1:00 PM

Desperate Hours tells the story of Turkey and the Holocaust.

How Turkey recruited the talented men and women Hitler discarded to revamp Turkish sciences, architecture, music, medicine and art;

How Turkish diplomats in France and Rhodes put their own lives at risk rescuing Jews of Turkish origin;

How the Yishuv – Jews from Pre-State Israel – daringly used Turkey as a base to recue Jews; The tragic sinking of the Sturma Refugee Ship with 760 refugees aboard and the odyssey of its lone survivor, David Stollar;

How Monsignor Roncalli (who later became Pope John XXIII), the Apostolic Delegate in Istanbul, worked with delegates of the Yishuv;

The infamous "Jews for Sale" deal – the attempt in 1944 to trade one million Jews for 10,000 trucks.
64 minutes, 2001


Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Memories and Perspective
Tuesday, October 22, 2013 at 1:00 PM

Dietrich Bonhoffer’s life story is one of the great epics of courage and conviction in our century. A young pastor in Germany when Hitler came to power, Bonhoeffer was one of the first among his fellow countrymen to recognize the threat posed by Nazism to the basic human values of Western civilization. A leader in the Confessing Church (that group of pastors which actively opposed the Nazification of the German Lutheran Church), Bonhoeffer also played an active role in the German resistance movement. He was arrested by the Gestapo in 1943, spent two years in prisons and concentration camps and was hanged at the Flossenburg camp on April 9, 1945. He was 39 years old. Since his death, his writings and life story have continued to inspire and challenge countless men and women around the world.
90 Minutes, 1983


Carpati 50 Miles, 50 Years
Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 1:00 PM

Carpati: 50 Miles, 50 Years is a testament to the strength of the Jews, Sinti and Roma who call the Carpathian Mountains home.

"I had my bris in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, my bar mitzvah in Czechoslovakia, my divorce in the Soviet Union and '’ll be buried in the Ukraine, but I never left my hometown." Zev Godinger

In 1931 the Carpathian Mountains of the Ukraine was the home of over one quarter of a million Jews. Sixty –five years later, immigration, the Holocaust and political turmoil have left less than 1500. Through Zev Godinger (son of Shimon, survivor of Auschwitz, Jewish community caretaker, grave digger and ice cream vendor) director, Yale Strom, affectionately chronicles the decay of a beautiful culture preserved by the faith of one of its lone survivors.
80 Minutes, 1996


Wednesday, June 19th, 2013 from 11:10am - 1:50pm

The movie is based on the eyewitness testimony of people who spent the end of World War II in the bunker with Adolf Hitler and his most faithful followers.  We especially follow Traudi Junge, Hitler's personal secretary.  The film gives insight into the chaotic final days of the war and Hitler's life, as well as a window into the motivations and beliefs of those still defending the Reich and Nazism at this late stage. When the movie was first released it was immediately controversial, as the careful casting and excellent performances seemed to "humanize" Hitler too much, according to some critics. Come prepared to discuss.


Le Chambon, the Hill of the Thousand Children
Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 1:00 PM

The French village of Le Chambon–sur-Lignon was inhabited by farmers of Huguenot descent. They knew a lot about religious persecution from their history. So during World War II when Hitler imposed his heinous laws and set out arrest all Jews in France, the village would not stand for it.

This is one of the epic sagas of the war, and Western civilization. Under the courageous leadership of a Christian pastor, this village risked extermination by the Nazis to provide safety and refuge for more than 5000 Jewish children.

At the beginning of the occupation Pastor Andre Trocme put his congregation’s position in writing, a pledge Le Chambon was miraculously able to fulfill. “The duty of Christians is to resist violence that will be brought to bear upon her conscience through the weapons of the spirit. We will resist whenever our adversaries demand obedience contrary to the order of the Gospel. We will do so without fear, but with pride and without hate.” 118 minutes


To Be or Not to Be
Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at 1:00 PM

The world is on the brink of war…but the show must go on. So Joseph Tura the Polish actor who put ham in Hamlet, stares beyond the floodlights and says: “To be or not to be.”

That is the question as well as the classic in which director Ernst Lubitsch, whose witty Lubitsch touch had stylishly lampooned sex and wealth, now took on a new target: Nazism. The story centers on a Warsaw theatrical troupe that outwits Nazi occupiers by playing the roles of (and for) their lives. Jack Benny stars as Tura, underplaying hilariously. Carole Lombard is zany and radiant as his alluring wife. Typical of Lubitsch, gem-sprinkeled ensemble has opportrunities to shine. 99 Minutes, 1942


The Ritchie Boys
Tuesday, April 9, 2013 at 1:00 PM

Run out of Germany by the Nazis, a small contingent of German Jewish intellectuals exacted a perfect revenger - returning to Europe as American soldiers to defeat the enemy. THE RITCHIE BOYS is the never=-before told tale of a handful of German nationals who used their language and cultural knowledge to wage psychological warfare against the Nazis and to liberate Europe. Still sharp as octogenarians. The Ritchie Boys - a medley of hilariously unlikely soldiers – vividly recall their treacherous and heroic slog through WWII, from training at Camp Ritchie, Maryland, to the beaches of Normandy, from dark weeks spent in a German POW camp to D-Day ebullience.

Now highly successful artists, businessman and professors, “The Ritchie Boys” laugh at their clumsy fit within the U.S. military, cry at the horrors of war and marvel at the unorthodox but effective – forms of interrogation and subterfuge that helped them to defeat the Nazis. 90 minutes, 2004


A Brievele Der Mamen, A Letter to Mother
Tuesday, May 7, 2013 at 1:00 PM

Set in the Polish Ukraine and New York City at the time of the First World War, the film traces the breakup of a family due to stress, poverty, the chaos of war and the difficulties of human life. The last Yiddish movie to be produced in Warsaw, this delightfully sentimental and moving story focuses on one Jewish mother’s efforts to keep the family together. 100 minutes, 1938


Past Events


The Garden of the Finzi Contini’s
Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 1:00 PM

The Garden of the Finzi-Continis set in Italy (1938 – 1945) shows the last flash before one of history’s major tragedies. The title refers to the vast, walled grounds adjacent to the mansion of a wealthy family of reclusive Jews in Ferrara, Italy, as fascism begins to overtake the country. This is a kind of sacred space of innocence, affluence and protected pleasure that safeguards the last of the Finzi-Contini line from the increasingly grim developments outside.

The Finzi-Cotinis are admired and envied by the townspeople — middleclass Jews who can hardly believe they are Jews – perhaps because of their worldliness and detachment. The film contrasts the seeming frivolity and indulgences of life at the Finzi-Continis with the methodical assault on the rights of Ferrara’s Jews who live in less sacred spaces. 94 Minutes


Le Chambon, the Hill of the Thousand Children
Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 1:00 PM

The French village of Le Chambon–sur-Lignon was inhabited by farmers of Huguenot descent. They knew a lot about religious persecution from their history. So during World War II when Hitler imposed his heinous laws and set out arrest all Jews in France, the village would not stand for it.

This is one of the epic sagas of the war, and Western civilization. Under the courageous leadership of a Christian pastor, this village risked extermination by the Nazis to provide safety and refuge for more than 5000 Jewish children.

At the beginning of the occupation Pastor Andre Trocme put his congregation’s position in writing, a pledge Le Chambon was miraculously able to fulfill. “The duty of Christians is to resist violence that will be brought to bear upon her conscience through the weapons of the spirit. We will resist whenever our adversaries demand obedience contrary to the order of the Gospel. We will do so without fear, but with pride and without hate.” 118 minutes


Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 1:00 PM

In this epic story of love and treason, Max von Sydow gives a career crowning performance as Knut Hamsun, Norway’s controversial Nobel Laureate and his country’s most beloved writer. But with the shadow of Nazism quickly darkening Europe, Hamsun and his wife, Marie, embrace Hitler – who sees Hamsun’s support as the surest way to win over the Norwegian people. Before long Hamsun and Marie are engulfed in Hitler’s war, their own turbulent relationship, and must face the angry wrath of a betrayed nation. 154 minutes


Your Unknown Brother
Wednesday, September 5, 2012 at 1:00 PM

1935, Nazi Germany – After being released from a camp for political prisoners, Arnold Clasen returns to Hamburg to lead a quiet life. He contacts Renate, with whom he is still in love. And, although he is aware of the danger of doing so, he begins a friendship with Walter, who is active in the resistance. But as old comrades are arrested one after another, Arnold begins to suspect that Walter, who remains unscathed, has betrayed them.

This landmark film exploring the role of the individual in confronting anti-fascism was invited to the Cannes Film Festival. Ironically (and tellingly), it was withdrawn by the East German authorities, who, at that time undermined the artistic activities of Ulrich Weiss, the film’s producer. 103 minutes


Sugiharas Conspiracy of Kindness
Wednesday, February 8, 2012 at 1:00 PM

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 made a decision that would change his life and thousands of others. With no possible hope for reward and at great risk to his family and career, Sugihara acted on his inner-most beliefs and used his diplomatic power to rescue desperate Jewish refugees.

As Japan's Consul to Lithuania, he defied Tokyo authorities by issuing more than 2000 transit visas allowing hundreds of families to flee Europe through Russia to Japan. Today, at least 40,000 people owe their existence to his intervention. (82 minutes)


The Dybbuk
Wednesday, March 7, 2012 at 1:00 PM

From a world that no longer exists, The Dybbuk evokes images and feelings that testify to the passing of that world. Filmed in Kazimierz, Poland, the town was a perfect setting for the film. It even had a small cemetery. The Jewish population of this town or almost all of it had something to do with The Dybbuk. The film is highlighted by the operatic voice of Cantor Gerszon Sirota, who would eventually perish in the Warsaw Ghetto.

Subtitles are in English. (2 hours)


Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 1:00 PM

"Nothing belongs to us anymore. They've taken away our clothes, our shoes, even our hair. We are more than stripped bare – we are naked as worms. If we speak, they will not listen and if they listen, they will not understand." These words of the Holocaust from author Primo Levi, highlight the introduction to this film based on his book If This Is a Man,

When Primo opened in September 2004 it was instantly recognized as a major theatrical event. Every performance was sold out. A work of astounding dramatic power, it brings to life Primo Levi's great testament to his life in Auschwitz. (110 minutes)


Killing Kasztner: The Jew Who Dealt With Nazis
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 1:00 PM

After receiving critical acclaim at the Toronto International Film Festival and an unprecedented theatrical release in Israel, American director Gaylen Ross's film now poses the question to American audiences —Was Rezso Kasztner a heroic rescuer of Jews or a villain colluding with the Nazis? Through accounts of the inflammatory political trial; startling revelations by Kasztner's assassin, Zev Eckstein; and a chilling meeting between the killer and Kasztner's daughter, Zsuzsi, audiences finally can decide the legacy of this forgotten man.


Forgiving Dr. Mengele
Wednesday, September 7, 2011 at 1:00 PM

Special Jury Prize – Slamdance Film Festival 2006 Eva Kor and her twin sister, Miriam, were victims of the infamous Nazi doctor, Josef Mengele, who conducted sadistic experiments on human beings at the Auschwitz concentration camp.

Haunted ever since by these cruel acts, something even more shocking occurs. Eva finds the power to forgive him. Having finally liberated herself from her feelings of rage and victim-hood, she becomes a tireless advocate of this new way of healing—but not everyone is ready to forgive the unforgivable.80 minutes


Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 1:00 PM

As a teenager, filmmaker Pearl Gluck left her Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn for the secular life of Manhattan. Many years later, Pearl's father has one wish that she marries and returns to the community. Pearl, however, takes a more creative approach to mend the breach. She travels to Hungary to retrieve a turn-of-the-century family heirloom: a couch upon which esteemed rabbis once slept. Enroute for the ancestral divan, Pearl encounters a colorful cast of characters who provide guidance and inspiration, including a couch exporter, her ex-Communist cousin in Budapest, a pair of Hungarian–American matchmakers and a renegade group of formerly Orthodox Jews. 77 minutes


The Scarlet and The Black
Wednesday, November 2, 2011 at 1:00 PM

The true story of Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty, a courageous Irish priest working in the Vatican during the German occupation. O'Flaherty devotes all his time and energy to hiding refugees and Allied POWs from the Nazis, building a network of hundreds of people to help him with his efforts.

Colonel Klapper, the local Gestapo chief, learns of O'Flaherty's activities. The priest has diplomatic immunity because of his Vatican post, but Kappler orders that he be captured or killed if seen outside the Vatican walls. O'Flaherty uses disguises to slip in and out of the Vatican, continuing his dangerous mission until Rome is liberated saving thousands of people from death. 155 minutes


The Shop on Main Street
Wednesday, December 7, 2011 at 1:00 PM

An inept Czech peasant is torn between greed and guilt when the Nazi-backed bosses of his town appoint him "Aryan controller" of an old Jewish widow's button shop. Humor and tragedy fuse in this scathing exploration of one cowardly man's complicity in the horrors of a totalitarian regime.

Made near the height of Soviet oppression in Czechoslovakia, this film features intense editing and camera work which won it the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in 1965. 125 minutes


The Nazi Officer's Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust
Wednesday, March 9, 2011 at 1:00 PM

In 1938, Edith Hahn was a Viennese law student, a "Christmas-tree Jew" with a gentile boyfriend. In 1942, she was living under an assumed name in Munich, married to Werner Vetter, a Nazi party member who was later drafted into the Wehrmacht.

Based upon Hahn's acclaimed memoir, THE NAZI OFFICER'S WIFE is the riveting account of how she survived the Holocaust by posing as an Aryan hausfrau. Despite the risks, she kept painstaking records, including real and falsified documents, and photos of labor camps. These moving artifacts, along with testimony from Hahn and her daughter, bring this tale of survival, resilience and redemption to life.

From award winning filmmakers, Rory Kennedy (American Hollow) and Liz Garbus (The Farm Life inside Argola Prison) THE NAZI OFFICER'S WIFE is narrated by Susan Sarandon, with additional readings by Julia Ormond.


Sophie Scholl: The Final Days
Wednesday, April 6, 2011 at 1:00 PM

This multi-award winning drama is a moving portrait of Germany's most famous anti-Nazi heroine. The film depicts the last six days (February 17 – 22, 1943) in the life of Sophie Scholl from her own perspective: that of a courageous and vibrant young women who is willing to face death for her belief in her ideals and those of the White Rose, an underground resistance movement to which she belongs. Through their resistance and protest against the Nazi regime, Sophie and her fellow members of the White Rose become synonymous with civil courage and a peaceful struggle against the rule of violence and oppression. Although the film follows the historical facts as closely and faithfully as possible (using the original interrogation records found in East Germany) it is written and directed as a feature film. Taking a sensitive and refreshingly open-minded view of history, young director Marc Rothermund re-awakens the now virtually mythical iconic figure of Sophie Scholl.


The Protocols of Zion
Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 1:00 PM

Despite all the evidence, millions around the world continue to blame the Jews for 9/11. This belief is a modern day incarnation of the infamous "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," the century-old forgery that some people claimed to be the Jews' master plan to rule the world.

Marc Levin sets out to understand why this racist track has been revived, and to challenge one of the most persistent, insidious conspiracy theories of all time. In the course of his explosive journey, Levin finds himself delving into the heart of hate, facing those who would traffic in bigotry all in the name of God.


Prisoner of Paradise
Wednesday, June 1, 2011 at 1:00 PM

A startling true story of Kurt Gerron, a well-known and beloved German – Jewish actor, director and cabaret star in Berlin in the 1920s and 30s. Among his greatest accomplishments, Gerron co-starred with the legendary Marlene Dietrich in the film classic "The Blue Angel." Gerron also sang "Mack the Knife" in the original production of "the Three Penny Opera."

Ultimately, Kurt Gerron was captured and sent to a concentration camp, where he was ordered to write and direct a pro-Nazi propaganda film.

Shot on location in Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam and Prague, by a team of filmmakers that has won Academy and Grammy Awards PRISONER OF PARADISE follows Kurt Gerron's career and remarkable odyssey, offering a unique perspective on this extraordinary period.




2010 Cinema Events

Everything Is Illuminated
Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 1:00 PM

A young American Jew, who shares a name with the author, journeys to the Ukraine in search of Augustine, the woman who saved his grandfather's life during the Nazi liquidation of Trachimbrod,his family shtetl. armed with many copies of an old photograph of Augustine and his grandfather's, maps, cigarettes, and a fanny pack filled with Ziploc bags, Jonathan begins his adventure with Ukrainian native and soon–to–be-good friend, Alexander "Alex" Perchov, who is his own age and very fond of American pop culture albeit culture that is already out of date in the United States. Alex has studied English at his university and is "premium" in his knowledge of the language. Therefore, he becomes the translator.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 1:00 PM

Set in 1944, as Hitler's Final Solution becomes policy throughout Europe, Fateless is the semi-autobiographical tale of a fourteen-year old Jewish boy from Budapest, who finds himself swept up by cataclysmic events beyond his comprehension. A perfectly normal teen who has never felt particularly connected to his religion, he is suddenly separated from his family as part of the random and rushed deportation of his city's large Jewish population. Brought to a concentration camp, his existence becomes a surreal adventure in adversity and adaptation and he is never quite sure if he is the victim of his captors or of an absurd destiny that metes out salvation and suffering arbitrarily. When he returns home after the liberation, he misses the sense of community he experienced in the camps, feeling alienated from both his Christian neighbors who turned a blind eye to his fate and the Jewish family friends who avoided deportation and who now want to put the war behind them.


Sister Rose's Passion
November 3, 2010 at 1:00 PM

Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary, Sister Rose's Passion tells the inspirational story of a most unlikely activist and powerhouse who has made the battle against anti-Semitism her life's work. This poignant, must-see film chronicles the life story of Sister Rose The ring, a gutsy Dominican nun, who had the courage, the toughness, and the passion to resist the status quo and push for what she believed was right.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010 at 1:00 PM

When it first appeared in 1986, Maus, Art Spiegelman's memoir of his father's experiences during the Holocaust, was hailed as a powerful work of history. It represented a new level of maturity for a century–old art form; namely comics, which to that point had mostly been a medium for superhero fantasies and funny animal stories. With the appearance of MAUS, the point was made simply and clearly that a mixture of words and pictures could be used to portray any subject-matter, even one so far removed from traditional comics subject-matter as the genocide and persecution of Polish and German Jews during the years surrounding WWII.



Blessed is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh

Sunday, January 10, 2010 at 1 PM at
The Harriet and Kenneth Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center and Archives

"Profoundly moving, a genuinely new way of looking at the Holocaust." –Variety

Narrated by Joan Allen, Blessed is the Match, is the first documentary feature about Hannah Senesh, the World War II-era poet and diarist who became a paratrooper, a resistance fighter and modern-day Joan of Arc.

Safe in Palestine in 1944, Hannah joined a mission to rescue Jews in her native Hungary. Shockingly, it was the only military rescue mission for Jews during the Holocaust. Hannah parachuted behind enemy lines, was captured, tortured and ultimately executed by the Nazis. Incredibly, her mother, Catherine, witnessed the entire ordeal – first as a prisoner with Hannah and later as her advocate, braving the bombed-out streets of Budapest in a desperate attempt to save her daughter.

Finally, through Hannah's diary entries and poetry – and through her correspondence with her mother – "Blessed is the Match" looks back on the life of a uniquely talented and complex girl who came of age in a world descending into madness. "God, May there be no end," Hannah writes in her 1942 poem, Eli, Eli… "to sea, to sand, water's splash, lightning's flash. The prayer of man."

Discussion following the film to be led by Rabbi Isidoro Aizenberg, Scholar-in-Residence. To RSVP contact 718-281-5770


What was lost in the Holocaust?
Before World War II, Warsaw was known as the Yiddish Hollywood, producing films that have become classics in the Yiddish culture.

Der Purimshpeiler – The Jester
A romantic Jewish comedy about a drifter who wanders from shtetl to shtetl. He finds brief happiness when he falls in love with a shoemaker's daughter in a small town in Galicia. A likeable fantasy about a man's quest for the unobtainable. Starring Zygmund Turkow and Miriam Kressyn.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 1 PM

Yidl Mitn Fidel
The film follows the story of Arye (Sinche Fostel), and his daughter Itke (Molly Picon), who decide to become travelling klezmorim. Because her father is concerned about the misfortunes that can befall a young girl, Itke disguises herself and calls herself Yidl. Filmed in Kazimierz, Poland, with local shtetl residents as extras.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009 at 1 PM

Mamele- The Little Girl Who Found Happiness among Her Pots and Pans

Molly Picon is Khatvshi, a young girl who is left with the responsibility of tending house for a helpless and indifferent family of seven. As such, she becomes the mamele, their little mother. The film is filled with that special brand of humor and song that made Molly Picon the undisputed queen of Yiddish musicals.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009 at 1 PM


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