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Film@IIJS: Who Will Write Our History

  • Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies 1140 Amsterdam Avenue New York City (map)

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. Now, for the first time, their story is told as a feature documentary. Written, produced and directed by Roberta Grossman ("Above and Beyond"), "Who Will Write Our History" mixes the writings of the Oyneg Shabes archive with new interviews, rarely seen footage and stunning dramatizations to transport us inside the Ghetto and the lives of these courageous resistance fighters. (95 min)

After the screening, we will be joined by Samuel Kassow for a Q & A.

Supported by the generosity of the Radov Family.

Co-sponsored by Columbia University's Department of History and Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP). 

Samuel Kassow, Charles H. Northam Professor of History at Trinity College, holds a Ph.D. from Princeton University. He has been been a visiting professor at many institutions including the Hebrew University, Harvard, Toronto and Dartmouth. From 2006 until 2013 he was the lead historian for two galleries of the recently opened POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw.  He has been elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Jewish Research.

Professor Kassow is the author of Students Professors and the State in Tsarist Russia: 1884-1917 (University of California Press, 1989), The Distinctive Life of East European Jewry (YIVO, 2003) and Who will Write  our
History: Emanuel Ringelblum and the Secret Ghetto Archive
 (Indiana,  2007),  which received the Orbis Prize of the AAASS and which was a finalist for a National Jewish Book Award. It has been translated into eight languages. He is also co-editor of Between Tsar and People (Princeton University Press,1993) and edited  "In Those Nightmarish Days: the Ghetto Reportage of Peretz Opoczynski and Josef Zelkowicz " which Yale University Press published in October 2016. Along with David Roskies his has edited and compiled the ninth volume of the Posen Anthology of Jewish Culture which Yale University Press will publish next year. A child of Holocaust survivors, Professor Kassow was born in a Displaced Persons camp in Germany.