“Who Will Write Our History” : Combating Hate Then and Now

by Kellie Portman

Chisuk Emuna Congregation is proud to welcome Nancy Spielberg, Producer, and Roberta Grossman, Directo,r for an exclusive screening of their film Who Will Write Our History on Sunday, November 10th at 2 pm.

Nancy Spielberg is blessed with the special talent of bringing to the screen previously unknown stories about Jewish heroes, including one of the most important Holocaust stories about the fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising told in this new documentary. The film asks us essential and timely questions: Which side of a story will become its official narrative?

In November of 1940, days after the Nazis sealed 450,000 Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto, a secret band of journalists, scholars, and community leaders vowed that they would defeat the lies and propaganda that the Nazis would be using against them - not with guns and fists, but with pen and paper. They decided to archive life in the Ghetto from the Jewish perspective by writing hundreds of diaries, essays, jokes, poems, and songs. They documented Nazi atrocities with eyewitness accounts. They sent reports of mass murder to London via the Polish underground. Then, as trains deported them to the gas chambers of Treblinka and the Ghetto burned to the ground, they buried in three large containers all 60,000 pages of the documents they had created in the hopes that their archives would survive the war, even if they did not.

Now, for the first time, their stories are told through this documentary which honors these Jews’ determination to create the most important cache of eyewitness accounts to survive the war. Who Will Write Our History mixes their archived writings with new interviews, rarely seen footage, and stunning dramatizations voiced by three-time Academy Award winner Joan Allen and Academy Award winner Adrian Brody, in order to transport us inside the Ghetto and into the lives of these courageous fighters. The film shows their moments of hope, as well as their despair, desperation, and anger, sometimes at their fellow Jews as much as their Nazi captors. It captures their humor, longing, hunger, and determination to retain their humanity in the face of unspeakable hardships. Ultimately, through their voices, actions, and real-time experiences, Who Will Write Our History vanquishes those who distort and dehumanize “others” in favor of those who stand up, fight back, and as one fighter wrote, “scream the truth to the world.”

In addition to the screening and discussion, an educational outreach program is being created in collaboration with Lillian Rappaport, the Holocaust Educator of the Jewish Federation of Greater Harrisburg. The film will be made available for student screenings in area high schools and colleges, and learning materials will be provided to supplement the film.  Chisuk Emuna’s goal for both the event at the synagogue and in the community is to raise awareness about the Holocaust and combat hate.

Sponsorships with reserved seating that include a meet and greet reception with Nancy Spielberg and Roberta Grossman are available. General admission tickets may be purchased online at www.chisukemuna.org for $18/adult; $5 for students ages 12-20.

For more information, please call Linda Laff, 717-385-0077 or the Chisuk Emuna office, 717-232-4851.