To commemorate the 25th anniversary of Schindler’s List, Golden Globe and Emmy award-winning actor and Journeys in Film national advisory board member Tony Shalhoub told the story of how men, women, and children of the Jewish faith were oppressed and discriminated against in Nazi-occupied Europe under Hitler’s racist rule and offers guidance on how you can show up as an upstander today.
Journeys in Film national spokesperson Liam Neeson shared an exclusive moment with Journeys in Film for the 25th anniversary of his work on Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List.
Teenage Sonia Warshawski was living with her mother, father, sister, and brother in Międzyrzec, Poland, when the German army invaded. Her father and brother were shot, her sister disappeared and her survival was uncertain, and Sonia and her mother were forced to work as slave laborers until the day they were deported to the Majdanek death camp. After her mother died in the gas chamber, Sonia was sent first to Auschwitz-Birkenau and then to Bergen-Belsen, where she was finally liberated as the war drew to a close.
This film by her granddaughter gives students insight into both the horrors of the Holocaust as a whole and the profound effect that it had on one individual and succeeding generations. Now in her nineties, Sonia is a vibrant, busy woman who loves interacting with family and with the customers who come to her tailor shop. She speaks to school groups, prison inmates, and others about her experiences. Her story is one of unimaginable suffering, but also of hope, of resilience, and of a refusal to let herself hate.
Through the life of Rafael Schächter, a brilliant Czech conductor who was arrested and sent to the concentration camp of Theresienstadt (Terezin) in 1941, educators will gain understanding of a unique chapter in Holocaust history, when prisoners used music and the arts to sustain their spirits and resist the oppression of the Nazis. For over ten years, conductor Murry Sidlin has dreamed of bringing the Requiem back to Terezin. Now, through soaring concert footage, powerful survivor recollections, cinematic dramatizations and evocative animation, Defiant Requiem brings the incredible story of this artistic uprising to life.
Oskar Schindler was a man of great talents and even greater contradictions. A born salesman and inveterate gambler, he sought his fortune in the aftermath of the German invasion of Poland. Like many an enterprising businessman, he joined the Nazi party to make deals, but was himself indifferent to politics. The only thing he truly believed in was enjoying life to the fullest.
His conscience gave him little trouble at first. Taking over a confiscated enamelware plant in occupied Krakow, he made a quick fortune on bribes, black-market deals and the labor of his unpaid Jewish workers. Yet, gradually, Oskar Schindler began to absorb the overwhelming events surrounding him. As the Holocaust descended over Europe, this once-ebullient bon vivant and befriender of Nazi officials was ready to risk it all to protect and then rescue more than 1,100 Jews sheltered in his factory.
When and why did concern for his workers transcend his own self-interest? Perhaps only Oskar Schindler could answer that if he were alive today.
Schindler’s List is an indelible story of devastation and genocide, but also of the courage and compassion of one ordinary human being. It is a story of survival — not merely the survival of one man, but of hundreds of Jews enduring the darkest period in recorded human history.