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As a part of Tolerance Week, the film “Who Will Write Our History,” will be shown on Monday, April 8, at 6:30 P.M. in the Cargill Auditorium.

In November 1940, days after the Nazis sealed 450,000 Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto, a secret band of journalists, scholars and community leaders decided to fight back. Led by historian Emanuel Ringelblum and known by the code name Oyneg Shabes, this clandestine group vowed to defeat Nazi lies and propaganda not with guns or fists but with pen and paper. They detailed life in the Ghetto from the Jewish perspective. They commissioned 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 60,000 pages of documentation in the hopes that the archive would survive the war, even if they did not.

Now, for the first time, the story of Emanuel Ringelblum and the Oyneg Shabes archive is told as a feature documentary. Written, pro- duced and directed by Roberta Grossman and executive produced by Nancy Spielberg, “Who Will Write Our History” mixes the writings of the archive with new interviews, rarely seen footage and stunning dramatizations to transport us inside the Ghetto and the lives of these courageous resistance fighters. Featuring the voices of three-time Academy Award nominee Joan Allen and Academy Award winner Adrian Brody, the film honors the Oyneg Shabes members’ determination in creating the most important cache of eyewitness accounts to survive the war. It follows 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 their determination to retain their humanity in the face of unspeakable hardships. And ultimately, through their voices, actions and real-time experiences, “Who Will Write Our History” vanquishes those who distort and dehumanize the “Other” in favor of those who stand up, fight back and, as one Oyneg Shabes member writes, “scream the truth to the world.”

MONDAY, APRIL 8; 6:30 P.M.
Location: Cargill Auditorium
Lifelong Learning membership not required
Fee: No charge / Max: 200
Lifelong Learning membership not required

The Institute for Lifelong Learning is proud and honored to have served as a host site for Tolerance Week activities since 2007. Tolerance Week is funded in part by grants from Humanities, Iowa and the Gilcrest Foundation.

Jerry and Kathy Weiner have been sponsoring the events of Tolerance Week in Sioux City since 2005. It began when they saw a film in Florida called “Paper Clips” which had limited release in theaters. G.R. Lindblade & Co. arranged to bring the film to the Sioux City Orpheum Theatre.

Mr. Weiner invited Mr. Phil Gans, an Auschwitz survivor whom he met at the Florida Holocaust Museum, to come to Sioux City to speak after the film. The film showing was free and open to the public and about 1,000 attended. The next day, 1,800 eighth-grade students attended a showing of the film and heard Mr. Gans speak.

It became clear that Mr. Gans wanted to speak to as many students as possible and plans were made for him to return for a week so that he could give his full presentation to many area students. Since 2007, Tolerance Week has involved a film showing with special guests each year that is free and open to the public. Since 2005, Mr. Gans has spoken to more than 23,000 students. Tolerance Week has featured award-winning films including “The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler,” “The Reckoning: The Dutch Resistance,” “One Out of Ten,” “Inside Hanna’s Suitcase,” “Nicky’s Family,” and “Angel of Ahlem.” In 2014, the main Tolerance Week event was a live musical performance, “Rise - A Spiritual Resistance,” presented by Sioux City Symphony Music Director Ryan Haskins featuring vocal and cello solos, a string quartet performing

“Different Trains” by Steve Reich with video and still photos adding depth to the performance. An encore of Rise was presented in 2015 and a live performance of “I Never Saw Another Butterfly,” an original play, performed by the Sioux City Community Theatre Youth troupe in 2016. 


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