The 2020 Sandra and Mendel Rosenberg Sunday Afternoon Film Series begins Jan. 26 with “Who Will Write Our History,” the first of 11 films, which will include introductions and post-screening discussions on many issues important to the Jewish community.
In the middle of the year, the film series will move to the St. Louis County Library, 1640 S. Lindbergh Blvd., and shift from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. start times.
The 2020 Sunday Afternoon Film Series is sponsored by Sandra and Mendel Rosenberg and takes place from January to May at the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center Theater, Kaplan Feldman Complex, 12 Millstone Campus Drive.
The films for this year are:
• Jan. 26: “Who Will Write Our History,” a documentary directed by Roberta Grossman (U.S., 2018, 95 minutes, in English, Yiddish, and Polish with English subtitles). Before he was murdered by the Gestapo, Emmanuel Ringelblum collected and preserved a massive archive of the Jewish experience in the Warsaw Ghetto. His materials, found buried in milk cans, included reports of deportations, clippings from underground newspapers and various artifacts of everyday life. This documentary tells Ringelblum’s story through images, interviews, and reenactments. Introductory remarks and post-screening discussion facilitated by Warren Rosenblum, chair of History, Politics, and International Relations Department at Webster University.
• Feb. 23: “13 Minutes,” by Oscar-winning director Oliver Hirschbiegel (Germany, 2015, 114 minutes, in German with English subtitles). The film traces the true story of Georg Elser, a carpenter from Konigsbrönn who, after becoming politically radicalized, unsuccessfully attempts to assassinate Hitler in 1939. Until today, Elser remains a largely unrecognized hero of German resistance to Hitler. Introductory remarks and post-screening discussion facilitated by Pier Marton, the “Unlearning Specialist” at the School of No Media. Marton’s father, photographer Ervin Marton, was in the French Résistance.
• March 29: “Operation Finale,” directed by Chris Weitz (U.S., 2018, 122 minutes). Ben Kingsley portrays Adolf Eichmann and Oscar Isaac portrays Mossad agent Peter Malkin in this true story of the pursuit and arrest of the infamous Nazi officer responsible for the murder of millions of Jews. The film is being screened in conjunction with an exhibition of graphic images created by Malkin, currently on view at the HMLC. Introductory remarks and post-screening discussion facilitated by Erin McGlothlin, associate professor of German and Jewish studies at Washington University.
• April 19: (note this film screens on a different date, the third Sunday of the month): “Path of the Past,” directed by Lou Baczewski (U.S., 2019, 105 minutes). This documentary tells the true story of Louis “Louch” Baczewski, a tank-crew member from Illinois who miraculously survived the perilous journey through all five major campaigns of World War II’s European Theater. Baczewski and the other members of his Sherman tank crew liberated the Nordhausen concentration camp. Introductory remarks and post-screening discussion facilitated by Lou Baczewski, director of the film and grandson of its subject.
• May 31: “Nuit et Brouillard (Night and Fog),” directed by Alain Resnais (France, 1956, 32 minutes, in French with English subtitles). This documentary, made 10 years after the liberation of German concentration camps, features the abandoned grounds of Auschwitz and Majdanek and describes the lives of prisoners in the camps. Introductory remarks and post-screening discussion facilitated by Mark Edward Ruff, professor of history at St. Louis University.
• June 28: “The Shop on Main Street” (Czechoslovakia, 1965, 128 minutes), directed by Jan Kadar and Elmar Klos, won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film and features an Academy Award-nominated performance by actress Ida Kaminska. She Portrays an elderly Jewish woman who develops a friendship with the good-natured Christian carpenter who has taken control of her button shop. The film sensitively addresses complex issues of moral responsibility and maintaining humanity against extreme odds. Introductory remarks and post-screening discussion facilitated by Robert A. Cohn, film reviewer and editor–in-chief emeritus of the St. Louis Jewish Light.
• Aug. 30: “Waldheims Waltzer” (The Waldheim Waltz, Austria, 2018, 94 minutes)This award-winning documentary, directed by Ruth Beckermann traces the uncovering of former U.N. Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim’s wartime past, including new details about his service in the German Wehrmacht. It depicts the swift succession of allegations by the World Jewish Congress at the time of his Austrian presidential campaign, the denials by the Austrian political class and the outbreak of anti-Semitism and nationalism that finally led to his election. Introductory remarks and post-screening discussion facilitated by Brad Prager, professor of film studies and German at the University of Missouri.
• Oct. 25: “Woman in Gold” (USA, 2015, 109 minutes) is directed by Simon Curtis. Helen Mirren shines in her portrayal of Maria Altman, an octogenarian Jewish refugee, who fights to regain a painting that belonged to her aunt — a portrait of her aunt, painted by Gustav Klimt. Introductory remarks and post-screening discussion facilitated by Caroline Kita, associate professor of German Studies and comparative literature at Washington University.
• Nov. 29: “The Little Dictator” (Israel, 2015, 28 minutes) was directed by Nurith Cohn and tells the story of Professor Yossi Kleinmann, an uncharismatic and underappreciated history professor. At a Sabbath weekend celebrating the 90th birthday of his wife’s grandmother, a Holocaust survivor, Yossi suddenly finds himself in an unexpected situation that forces him to confront history, his family, and himself. Introduction and post-screening discussion facilitated by Drew Newman, who received a bachelor’s degree in film from Syracuse University. His film, “The Man Who Loved Flowers,” has been screened in the United States, Belgium, Spain, Argentina, Russia, and Ukraine. The program will also feature a second short film that has yet to be determined.
• Dec. 27: “The Silenced Walls” (France, 2015, 88 minutes) was directed by Sabrina Van Tassel. In the Parisian suburb of Drancy lies an unadorned block of low-income housing. This documentary explores the building that in 1940 became the central internment camp for Jews during the Nazi occupation of France. Introductory remarks and post-screening discussion facilitated by Dr. Zvi Tannenbaum, former professor of history at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin.