Across the world on Sunday, Jan. 27, the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust, “Who Will Write Our History” will screen simultaneously around the world in theaters, churches, mosques, synagogues, universities, museums, and community centers. Please join Damariscotta’s Lincoln Theater, Jan. 27 at 12:30 p.m. for the only screening taking place in the state of Maine.
Audiences everywhere will join a post-screening discussion from UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C., and the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. Hear behind-the-scenes stories from Executive Producer Nancy Spielberg, Professor Samuel Kassow, and Director Roberta Grossman and scholars from the USHMM. The discussion will be moderated by Stephen Smith, executive director of the USC Shoah Foundation.
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,” a clandestine group of journalists, scholars, and community leaders in the Warsaw Ghetto 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, produced, 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 Adrien 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 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 the “Other” in favor of those who stand up, fight back and, as one “Oyneg Shabes” member writes, “scream the truth to the world.”
Don’t miss this important global screening event at Lincoln Theater in Damariscotta. Tickets are available at the door only: $8/adults and $6/theater members and youth 18 and under. Presented in partnership with UNESCO, World Jewish Congress, USC Shoah Foundation, Emanuel Ringelblum Institute, YIVO, with more to be announced, and co-hosted by the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine.
Following the opening ceremonies, the film will be screened, and then we will join a post-screening discussion streamed on Facebook Live from the evening screening at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.