The Eldred World War II Museum will be taking part in the global screening of the film “Who Will Write Our History” to commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day Jan. 27.
The film will be shown at the Olean, N.Y., JCC Cutco Theatre at 2 p.m. While admission is free, donations will be accepted.
“We live in a time when Holocaust awareness is fading, making it imperative that we bring this film to our community,” read a release from the museum’s executive director, Jesse Case. “A recent survey by the Claims Conference found that 66 percent of U.S. millennials and 41 percent of adults cannot identify what Auschwitz was, while 22 percent of millennials and 11 percent of adults said ‘they had not heard of, or were unsure if they had heard of the Holocaust.’”
The film, underwritten in part by Temple B’Nai Israel Congregation of Olean, “will open viewers’ eyes to Jewish resisters as they fought to preserve their memory. Their written testimonies are our responsibility now as we forge forward to combat ignorance of the Holocaust and prevent anti-Semitism.”
The film will be shown all over the world Jan. 27 in theaters, churches, mosques, synagogues, universities, museums and community centers.
Case provided a synopsis of the film.
“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,” the synopsis read.
“Now, for the first time, their story is told as a feature documentary. Written,
produced, and directed by Roberta Grossman and executive produced by Nancy Spielberg,
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,” it read. “They defied their murderous enemy with the ultimate weapon – the truth – and risked everything so that their archive would survive the war, even if they did not.”
Emily Putzke of Olean, a volunteer at the museum, is organizing the event.
“I actually came across (the film) a couple years ago when it was in the works,” Putzke said. “I have been to Poland and seen the actual documents from this archive.
“I’ve been studying this so long. Seeing the drawings of a little girl, and the diary entries, things the Jews wanted the world to remember about them… it was just amazing and really, really moving,” she said.
At the theater, audience members will be given the chance to take a photo with a sign saying “We Remember.” They will be invited to upload the photos on social media with #WeRemember, where they will be used in an international Holocaust remembrance campaign.
“They will be shown at Auschwitz-Birkenau,” Putzke said. The We Remember campaign is intended to raise awareness among international youth about the Holocaust.
She said the Cutco Theatre, at 305 N. Barry St., Olean, holds 185 people, and they are hoping for a strong turnout.