Film Screening Series: Searching for the Unknown Holocaust

A Film Screening and Conversation Series with Israeli documentary director Boris Maftsir, creator of the Searching for the Unknown Holocaust film series, October 17-19, 2017

The murder of 2.7 million Jews in Nazi-occupied USSR served as a precursor to the destruction that occurred later in concentration camps in Europe. Yet, the stories of these people, who comprised nearly half the Holocaust victims, are not really part of our collective memory of the Holocaust. With this unique, 3-part event, we offer audiences in greater Washington, DC an opportunity to learn more about the Holocaust as it unfolded in Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Russia, and other parts of the USSR.

Boris Maftsir, the Israeli documentary filmmaker, who traveled to hundreds of Holocaust sites in the former Soviet Union interviewing witnesses, survivors, and memory activists for his 8-part documentary series, will be present at all the screenings to answer questions.

*Please note that each screening requires separate registration*

*All screenings are free and open to the public*

The screening is organized by the Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center with support from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Embassy of Israel in the United States, Program in Judaic Studies at the George Washington University, the Rabin Chair Forum at George Washington University, and the Bender Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington.

 

Guardians of Remembrance: Memory of the Holocaust in the Post-Soviet Space

October 17, 3:30-5:30 PM

Location: Kennan Institute, Woodrow Wilson Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC

A Film Screening and Conversation Series with Israeli documentary director Boris Maftsir, creator of the Searching for the Unknown Holocaust film series, October 17-19, 2017

Nearly 2.8 million of the 6 million Holocaust victims were murdered in the Nazi-occupied Soviet Union. For ideological purposes, the Soviets nearly erased that part of the history of the Holocaust, leaving us with a picture that remains incomplete to this day. Maftsir will show episodes from several films, interspersing them with discussion of how Holocaust is remembered in the region and how memory issues play out in contemporary politics as these countries continue to review and revise their histories.

To register, please go here.

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"We Allow You to Die": What Happened to the Jews of Odessa

October 18, 7:00-9:00 PM

Location: Bender Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington, 6125 Montrose Road, Rockville, MD 20852

A Film Screening and Conversation Series with Israeli documentary director Boris Maftsir, creator of the Searching for the Unknown Holocaust film series, October 17-19, 2017

A desert reception sponsored by the Embassy of Israel will follow the screening.

200,000 Jews lived in Odessa before the war. Only half managed to leave before Germany’s Romanian allies entered parts of Soviet territories, including Odessa. The remaining Jews endured murderous round-ups in the initial days of the occupation. 40,000 Jews were murdered in Odessa and another 70,000 Jews were deported to camps and ghettos in Transnistria. The majority were murdered there or died of starvation.  We Allow You to Die is the story of the starvation camp Pechora on the border between Transnistria and the German-occupied Vinnytsia district in Ukraine. A “model” camp that illustrates the murderous policy of the Romanians toward the Jews: death by starvation and disease.

In Russian, Ukrainian and Hebrew, with English subtitles, 66 minutes.

To register, please go here.

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Until the Last Step: Stories of Holocaust Resistance and Heroism in Belarus

October 19, 7:30-9:30 PM

Location: The Media and Public Affairs Building, Room 310, George Washington University, 805 21st Street, NW, Washington, DC

A Film Screening and Conversation Series with Israeli documentary director Boris Maftsir, creator of the Searching for the Unknown Holocaust film series, October 17-19, 2017

Toward the end of the winter of 1942, almost all of the murder campaigns against the Jews of Eastern Belarus were complete, but in many places in Western Belarus, some ghettos remained.

In 1942, the ghetto in the town of Lachva witnessed an uprising. The rebels had no chance. They knew their fate was doomed, but they chose how to die. The uprisings in Lachva and other shtetls surprised the Germans. For the first time they came upon Jews who were willing to resist. Until the Last Step presents stories of heroism and death in the ghettos of Nesvitch, Lachva, Gluboki, and the brave story of escape through a tunnel in the Novogrudek ghetto. The film also exposes the Nazis’ attempt to obscure the massacre of Jews that was taking place.

Post-screening Q&A with Boris Maftsir will be led by Professor Jeffrey Richter, the Chief Historian for the Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section of the U.S. Department of Justice.  Dr. Richter joined the Justice Department's Nazi-hunting unit, the Office of Special Investigations, where he served as a historian until 2010. Since 2010, he has worked as a historian in the Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section.  For several years, he has taught courses at George Washington University on the history of the Holocaust and of war crimes trials.

To register, please email John Vail at johnvail@gwu.edu