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The U.S. and the Holocaust

Ken Burns’ new three-part documentary, The U.S. and the Holocaust, explores America’s response to the horrors of the Holocaust and the rise of authoritarianism in Europe. Join us for a brief screening and panel discussion moderated by CPTV host Diane Orson, tracing the parallels between the decline of democracy leading up to World War II and the current threat to democracy today.

The U.S. and the Holocaust, a new three-part, six-hour series directed and produced by Burns, Lynn Novick, and Sarah Botstein, explores America’s response to one of the greatest humanitarian crises of the 20th century. Inspired in part by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s “Americans and the Holocaust” exhibition and supported by its historical resources, the film examines 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.

Combining the first-person accounts of Holocaust witnesses and survivors and interviews with leading historians and writers, The U.S. and the Holocaust dispel 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.

 

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