The 16th Annual International JCC Rockland Jewish Film Festival doesn’t begin until the evening of Sunday, March 31. But this weekend there’s an opportunity to see a new documentary that is being featured as a prelude to the festival.
The film, “Who Will Write Our History,” will be shown Sunday, March 3, at 7:30 p.m., at the Lafayette Theater, 97 Lafayette Avenue, Suffern, N.Y. Stuart Liebman, professor emeritus of film studies at Queens College and the CUNY Graduate Center, will be the guest speaker. Dr. Liebman has written extensively on Holocaust cinema in Germany, Poland, and Russia, and he edited Claude Lanzmann’s “Shoah: Key Essays” for Oxford University Press in 2007.
“Who Will Write Our History” is a collaboration between the director, Roberta Grossman, and the executive producer, Nancy Spielberg. It tells the story of an underground resister, Emanuel Ringelbaum, and those Jews who wanted to preserve their memories of what happened, not what the Germans would show. They wanted to give voice to the murdered in the Warsaw Ghetto and to leave a record of what they were witnessing.
In their minds, it wasn’t just that the pen was mightier than the sword, or that that pen was the only weapon they had against the Nazis. Instead, it was that the Jews of the Warsaw ghetto decided that they had to tell history from the Jewish perspective.
Narrated by actors Adrien Brody and Joan Allen, the documentary opens up the Oyneg Shabes archive, the secret collection of documents created and saved in time capsules in the ghetto between 1940 and 1943 by Ringelbaum.
“This is a story that will inspire,” David Kirschtel, the JCC Rockland’s chief executive officer, said. “The documentary is about the scribes of the Warsaw ghetto. But it’s only one film of the panoply of films we’ll be showing at the festival that illustrate the Jewish experiences of our time.”
The JCC Rockland Jewish Film Festival is sponsored by the Rockland Jewish Community Center and the BenMosche Family and co-sponsored by the Holocaust Museum & Center for Tolerance and Education and the Jewish Federation & Foundation of Rockland County.