Screener & Discussion at Henrietta Hankin Branch Library
(CHESTER SPRINGS, PA)—On Monday, November 14th, from 6:00-8:00 p.m., Henrietta Hankin Branch Library is honored to continue its partnership with PBS Books and WETA in presenting a Screener and Discussion of the recently aired PBS documentary The U.S. and the Holocaust, a film by Ken Burns, Lynn Novick & Sarah Botstein. This 3-part documentary explores America’s response to one of the greatest humanitarian crises in history. Americans consider themselves a “nation of immigrants,” but as the catastrophe of the Holocaust unfolded in Europe, the United States proved unwilling to open its doors to more than a fraction of the hundreds of thousands of desperate people seeking refuge. Through riveting firsthand testimony of witnesses and survivors who as children endured persecution, violence, and flight as their families tried to escape Hitler, this series delves deeply into the tragic human consequences of public indifference, bureaucratic red tape, and restrictive quota laws in America. Did the nation fail to live up to its ideals? This is a history to be reckoned with.
Join us as we view selected clips from the documentary and then take part in a conversation with a panel of local experts. We are delighted to have panelists Rabbi Lance J. Sussman, Ph.D., and Jonathan C. Friedman, Ph.D., to lead us in an insightful conversation on core themes raised in the film, such as immigration policy, racism, isolationism, discrimination, and more.
Rabbi Sussman currently serves as the Rabbi Emeritus of Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel of Elkins Park, PA after serving as senior rabbi from 2001-2022. Rabbi Sussman, a specialist in American Jewish history, has written several books and numerous articles on the American Jewish experience. Currently, he is working on a television documentary on the history of the Philadelphia Jewish community with History Making Productions. He is also editing a collection of his sermons and essays, “Portrait of an America Rabbi,” and serving as Scholar in Residence at Philadelphia’s Holocaust Awareness Museum (HAMEC).
Jonathan C. Friedman, Ph.D., currently serves as a Professor of History, and Director of Graduate Holocaust and Genocide Studies at West Chester University. Dr. Friedman’s main areas of specialization are modern European, modern German, and modern Jewish history, although since finishing his Ph.D. he has broadened his areas of specialization to include LGBT history and the history of music and film. Dr. Friedman has published numerous books on subjects ranging from the Holocaust to gay and Jewish performances. He is currently working on a monograph entitled Haunted Laughter: Comedic Representations of Adolf Hitler, The Third Reich, and the Holocaust in Film and Television.
Anyone who would like to view the full documentary in advance of the event may stream it for free on WHYY PBS platforms, including PBS.org and the PBS Video App, available on iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsun Smart TV, Chromecast, and VIZIO. PBS station members can view the documentary via PBS Passport as part of a full collection of Ken Burns films. You can also borrow a DVD of the movie through the Chester County Library System.
This Screener and Discussion program will take place virtually via Zoom. To register, please visit https://ccls.libcal.com/calendar/HankinBranchLibrary. This event supports PA Forward Health and Civic and Social Literacies.
The mission of the Chester County and Henrietta Hankin Branch Libraries is to provide informational, educational, and cultural services to the residents of Chester County so that they may be lifelong learners. The Henrietta Hankin Branch Library is located at 215 Windgate Drive, Chester Springs, PA. For hours or more information, visit our website at www.chescolibraries.org.