The Gordon JCC and Nashville Public Television invite the community to a special preview of THE U.S. AND THE HOLOCAUST, a new documentary by Ken Burns, Lynn Novick & Sarah Botstein, on Wednesday, September 14 at 7PM in the Gordon JCC’s Pargh Auditorium. In addition to the preview, the event will include a screening of Our American Family: The Mays. This story about the local May family, who many know as running the May Hosiery Mill in Wedgewood-Houston, also tells how the Mays were instrumental in helping hundreds of Jews escape to America before World War II began. The program is free and open to the public.
THE U.S. AND THE HOLOCAUST, is a three-part six hour series, which will air on September 18,19, and 20, at 7-9 pm CT, on Nashville Public Television. It examines America’s response to the Holocaust and asks, “Did America do enough?” As Ken Burns reminds us, “History cannot be looked at in isolation. While we rightly celebrate American ideals of democracy and our history as a nation of immigrants, we must also grapple with the fact that American institutions and policies, like segregation and the brutal treatment of indigenous populations, were influential in Hitler’s Germany. And it cannot be denied that, although we accepted more refugees than any other sovereign nation, America could have done so much more to help the millions of desperate people fleeing Nazi persecution.”
This documentary was inspired in part by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s “Americans and the Holocaust” exhibition. It combines first-person accounts of Holocaust witnesses and survivors and interviews with leading historians and writers, examining the rise of Hitler and Nazism in Germany in the context of global antisemitism and racism, the eugenics movement in the United States and race laws in the American south. The series, written by Geoffrey Ward, sheds light on what the U.S. government and American people knew and did as the catastrophe unfolded in Europe. While we have yet to preview the series, PBS has shared that the documentary, The U.S. AND THE HOLOCAUST, dispels competing myths that Americans either were ignorant of the unspeakable persecution that Jews and other targeted minorities faced in Europe or that they looked on with callous indifference. The film tackles a range of questions that remain essential to our society today, including how racism influences policies related to immigration and refugees as well as how governments and people respond to the rise of authoritarian states that manipulate history and facts to consolidate power. This information and more can be found on www.pbs.org.
Over the next few months, the Gordon JCC and NPT will continue discussion on topics presented in THE U.S. AND THE HOLOCAUST with additional screenings from the film and vital conversations. On November 10th, we will examine prejudice, and resilience, and the role of Jim Crow laws in Hitler’s ideology, with speakers Dr. Saul Kelner, Professor of Sociology and Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University, and Elliot Robinson, Program Specialist Nashville Public Library Civil Rights Room. On January 26th, in acknowledgement of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we will explore the impact on Children, Immigrants, and Refugees with Felicia Anchor, former chair of the TN Holocaust Commission and chair of the Nashville
Holocaust Memorial, Michal Becker, Engagement Director at the Jewish Federation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee, and Sasha-Nicole Cory, a therapist who works with refugee communities. For more information, reach out to Sharonb@nashvillejcc.org.
For reservations to the September 14 showing, please visit nashvillejcc.org/usandtheholocaust.