Sioux Falls Atheists
Sioux Falls Atheists and Atheism, Agnostics and Humanism

Judaism World War II History Movies
Endorsed by Sioux Falls Atheists

Sioux Falls Atheists recommends the following documentaries that describe the history of Judaism during World War II.

Why did ordinary people commit atrocities in the Holocaust?
Why did ordinary people commit atrocities in the Holocaust?
Around six million people were killed in the Holocaust, the Nazis' systematic attempt to exterminate the Jewish people. Jews from across Germany and Nazi-occupied Europe were rounded up, and either transported to extermination camps where they were gassed, shot locally, or starved and abused in ghettos and labour camps until they died. Learn about what caused people to collaborate with the Nazis in their attempt to exterminate the Jewish people. The subjects in this article include:

  1. Ordinary people
  2. Who were they?
  3. Why did they do it?
  4. 'Just following orders'
  5. Called to account
  6. Could it happen again?
  7. Where next?

Make no mistake. They'll be back. Hatred of other people to the point of genocide is alive and well and growing in Europe, United States (KKK, neo-Nazis, Fundamentalists and Evangelicals, Anti-Gays and Anti-Lesbians), Middle East, Africa, India, and South East Asia. Killing others who don't "believe right" and are responsible for "our problems" is a world-wide human behavior. It's even probably the root cause of the hundreds of mass killings in America by brutal white males who see themselves as losers and want to blame anyone but themselves.

The Sioux Falls Atheists want to bring to people's attention that anti-semitism still exists in Europe and in especially in Spain. In Spain the Catholic churches still display murals depicting Jews kidnapping Christian children for Blood Sacrifices. The residents of many communities still believe these tales for which there is no historical evidence whatsoever. And in Austria the citizens still see Jews as undesirables that don't belong and never did belong in their communities.

And in the United States the KKK still exists. They hate Jews and Blacks and lots of others. The only ones not on their hate list are white Anglo-Saxon Protestants. Seems like hating Jews is a watchword for much of Christian humanity.

8-4-18 Anti-semitic graffiti on Auschwitz survivor Elie Wiesel's house
Police in Romania are investigating anti-semitic graffiti found on the walls of the house where Auschwitz survivor Elie Wiesel was born. Comments painted in pink included the remark that Wiesel, who died in 2016, was "in hell with Hitler". They were quickly removed. Wiesel became famous after writing about his teenage years in Nazi concentration camps. He devoted his life to ensuring Nazi atrocities would not be forgotten. Police spokeswoman Florina Metes said officers were studying CCTV footage from the house, in northern Romanian town of Sighetu Marmatiei, where Wiesel was born in 1928. In 1944 Wiesel's family was deported to Auschwitz, where his mother and one of his sisters were killed in the death camps. His father died at Buchenwald. Wiesel's use of the term Holocaust helped cement the word's association with Nazi atrocities against the Jews. In 1986, he was awarded the Nobel Peace prize for his role in speaking out against violence, repression and racism. After his death, the head of the World Jewish Congress said he was "undoubtedly one of the great Jewish teachers and thinkers of the past 100 years".

7-13-18 The filmmaker who chronicled the Holocaust
When Claude Lanzmann set out to make a documentary about the Holocaust, his initial backers envisioned a two-hour film that would be produced over 18 months. Instead, the French filmmaker would toil for 11 years, doggedly gathering 350 hours of testimony from survivors and perpetrators alike. His 1985 film Shoah, which runs nine and a half hours, depicts the Holocaust entirely through the words of the people who witnessed it, with no music or archival footage. In one scene, a Jewish barber who cut the hair of fellow prisoners bound for the gas chambers at the Treblinka death camp begs Lanzmann to stop the interview, but the director presses on. When asked about the morality of forcing survivors to relive such horrors, Lanzmann defended his unflinching approach. “One has to die with them again,” he said, “in order that they didn’t die alone.” Lanzmann was born in Paris to Jewish parents from Eastern Europe, said The Washington Post. The family later moved to a farm in rural Brioude, and during the Nazi occupation of France, Lanzmann and his brothers “were taught to hide from the Gestapo in a hole their father dug in the garden.” At age 18, he joined a Communist Resistance group and smuggled arms to the partisans. After the war, Lanzmann “became a figure of the intellectual left,” said The New York Times. A protégé of the philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre and for nine years the lover of Simone de Beauvoir, he joined both on the editorial board of the journal Les Temps Modernes. Shoah was Lanzmann’s second film—after 1973’s Why Israel—and he went to extreme lengths to pry the truth from former Nazis, making false promises of anonymity and using hidden cameras. Lulled into a false sense of security, some former camp guards even expressed pride in the efficiency of the Nazi death machine. Shoah “defined the Holocaust for those who saw it, and defined him as a filmmaker,” said the Associated Press. Lanzmann made several more documentaries based on his unused interviews, including 2013’s The Last of the Unjust. He loathed Holocaust movies such as Schindler’s List and Life Is Beautiful, which he thought tried to sanitize the Holocaust with their relatively hopeful endings. “The last image of Shoah is different,” he said. “It is a train which rides and never stops. It says that the Holocaust has no ending.”

6-16-18 Preserving the legacy of Holocaust survivors
The remaining holocaust survivors are dying. How will we save their stories? Halina Litman Yasharoff Peabody remembers the events of her life during the Holocaust in remarkable detail. She was only six when Russians invaded her Polish town, arrested her father, and sent him to a prison camp in Siberia. The Germans arrived in 1941, setting off a string of horrors for Peabody, her mother, and her baby sister: the hiding, the ghetto, the mass graves, the escape by train, and the bomb that took two of her fingers. "You don't forget those things," she said at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., recently. "And I'm one of the last eyewitnesses." Eyewitness perspectives like Peabody's have served as invaluable educational resources for the Holocaust Museum since the institution opened near the National Mall 25 years ago. But as the number of survivors dwindles, the museum must prepare for a future without them. Peabody is part of a team of more than 80 survivors who fill a wide variety of roles as volunteers, ranging from translating primary source documents for the collections to completing the museum's intensive tour guide training and leading visitors through the exhibits. Peabody has traveled from her home in Bethesda, Maryland, to the museum nearly every week for the past 15 years. Sometimes she works at the information desk in the light-filled lobby. On other days, she tells her story in front of an audience as part of the museum's First Person event series. It's a well-oiled, mutually beneficial system. Like many survivors, Peabody said she feels drawn to the museum, its staff, and the network of other survivors. "They are all my family," she said after saying goodbye to a staff member with a kiss on the cheek. "Because I don't have any, you know? They're mine." The museum staff also relies on the survivors to connect with visitors in a visceral way that an exhibit alone cannot accomplish. Diane Saltzman, the museum's director of constituency engagement, said survivors help create lasting impressions among new audiences, particularly children. Every year, she coordinates around 375 events around the country with survivors who volunteer at the museum, enabling them to travel to other communities outside of D.C. to share their stories. But time is taking its inevitable toll. Saltzman has been invited to 80th, 90th, and even 100th birthday parties for aging survivors. The oldest survivor who is still volunteering is 101 years old. "It's a challenge, from a personal perspective. These are not just people that come to work every day. They are family," Saltzman said, echoing Peabody.

2-3-18 Holocaust law wields a 'blunt instrument' against Poland's past
In 2012, Barack Obama made an uncharacteristic gaffe that set off a small diplomatic crisis - he referred to the "Polish" - and not "Nazi" - death camps of the Second World War. But under a bill passed by Poland's lower house of parliament this week, someone using similar language in future might be prosecuted. Put forward by the ruling right-wing Law and Justice Party, the bill would make it a crime to accuse Poles of being complicit in the Holocaust, punishable by up to three years in prison. President Andrzej Duda has indicated he will likely sign it into law. "There was no participation by Poland or the Polish people as a nation in the Holocaust," he said on Monday. There is widespread agreement among historians that some Polish citizens did participate in the Holocaust, by betraying, even murdering Polish Jews. But there is disagreement over whether those acts add up to wider Polish complicity — a nuanced historical debate that the Polish government now seeks to legislate. "This is history as a tool, as a means for a nationalistic government to accuse everyone else of betraying the nation while painting itself as the only true carriers of the Polish flag," said Anita Prazmowska, a professor of Polish history at the London School of Economics (LSE). "It is a blunt instrument." It is also a product of the current political moment in Poland, where 60,000 nationalists took to the streets in November to denounce Islam and immigration, and where historians see a once progressive post-Soviet state taking a dark turn towards right-wing populism. (Webmaster's comment: The Nazis told the Poland people they could do whatever they wanted to with the Jews. Many Polish people then stole Jewish property and some even brunt Jews to death.)

2-2-18 Poland: Don’t call us complicit in the Holocaust
Fact: Poles were complicit, said Lahav Harkov in The Jerusalem Post (Israel). More than 90 percent of Polish Jews—some 3 million people—were slaughtered in the Holocaust. “You don’t get to numbers like that without cooperation.” In the town of Jedwabne in 1941, Poles rounded up Jewish families and burned them alive in a barn. After the war, anti-Jewish violence erupted in towns and cities across Poland, often when Holocaust survivors tried to return to their homes. Yes, many brave Poles hid Jews from the Nazis, and no, Poles did not create the death camps. But when I posted about Polish complicity on Twitter, thousands of Poles responded, telling me I was an example of “that treacherous lying Jewish media” and “the reason Jews are killed and thrown out of every country they try to live in around the world.” Way to prove you’re not anti-Semitic, guys. Sadly, anti-Semitism is thriving in Poland, particularly in the ruling Law and Justice party, said Dominika Wielowieyska in Gazeta Wyborcza (Poland). Not every member is a bigot, of course, but the party does “give a platform” to such people. Former Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz has blamed Jews for communism and referenced the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the forged book that purports to outline a Jewish plot to take over the world. And Law and Justice politicians praised last November’s nationalist march through Warsaw, in which 60,000 demonstrators chanted “white Europe” and “pure blood.” It doesn’t help that the lower house passed the bill on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day.

1-22-18 The businessman exiled for being Jewish
When Adam Ringer was forcibly removed from Poland simply because he was Jewish, he didn't think he'd ever be able to return to his homeland. It was back in 1968 that Mr Ringer, 19 at the time, was made to renounce his Polish citizenship and kicked out of the country, during one of communism's darker episodes. Just 23 years after the Holocaust, Poland's surviving Jewish population was targeted by an anti-Semitic purge officially sanctioned by the country's then communist authorities. Branded an "anti-Zionist" campaign, Polish Jews were stripped of their jobs and deported, because of the government's - and the wider Soviet Bloc's - growing hostility towards Israel at the time. An estimated 14,000 Poles of Jewish faith or ancestry were forced to leave the country, after each being given a document that stated that its holder was stateless and had no right to ever return to Poland. Looking back, Mr Ringer says: "Many of my colleagues were arrested... my father was expelled from his job. We were all in shock and feared for the worst." Mr Ringer, who at the time had been an electronics student at Warsaw Technical University, was taken in by Sweden. His parents, both Polish-Jewish Holocaust survivors, followed a year later. It wasn't until the fall of communism in Poland in 1989 - 21 years after he was exiled - that Mr Ringer was able to finally return to his homeland. Now 68, Mr Ringer says he chose Sweden because he didn't have a lot of options. "Scandinavian countries' doors were open for people like me, unlike the UK, France and the US," he says. "And it was closer than Israel, where I also didn't know anyone."

1-4-18 The forgotten Swiss diplomat who rescued thousands from Holocaust
A Swiss diplomat has been credited with leading the largest civilian rescue operation of World War Two. But instead of being applauded for saving thousands of Jewish lives, he was reprimanded and - until recently - largely forgotten, as the BBC's Imogen Foulkes reports. In a suburb of Switzerland's capital, Berne, there is a quiet street called Carl Lutz Weg. Ask people passing by, and no one seems to know much about him. Read the fine print on the street sign, though, and there is a clue: Swiss Vice-Consul to Budapest, 1942 to 1945. There are more clues at the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs. It holds bound volumes containing thousands of letters, each stamped by the government of Switzerland, each with photographs of families. The Geigers: Sandor, Istvan, Eva and Janos. Or the Brettlers: Izsak, Mina and Dora. They are a record of Carl Lutz's attempts to stop the Nazis deporting thousands of Jews from Budapest to the death camps. A seasoned diplomat, Lutz had served as the Swiss consul to Palestine, then under British mandate, in the 1930s. He was transferred to Budapest in 1942. Hungary had already joined the war on Germany's side in 1941, and in 1944 the Nazis occupied the country. "After the German occupation of Budapest, the Hungarian Jewry in the countryside was in very quick succession deported to Auschwitz," says Holocaust expert Charlotte Schallié. "Lutz realised he needed to act very quickly." Ms Schallié believes that what Lutz went on to do means he can be compared to Oskar Schindler, the German who saved Jews by employing them in his factories (and who was later immortalised in the film Schindler's List).

12-20-17 He was sent to a Holocaust concentration camp. Then German soldiers discovered he could paint.
When you step inside artist Kalman Aron's modest apartment in Beverly Hills, a lifetime of creation surrounds you. The walls are covered in paintings and finished canvases are stacked on the floors, a dozen deep. The paintings range from portraits to landscapes to abstract works. They're just a fraction of the roughly 2,000 pieces Aron says he's created over the decades. Born in Riga, Latvia, in 1924, Aron started sketching when he was 3. At age 13, he won a competition to paint a portrait of the country's prime minister. But then came the start of World War II; Germany invaded Latvia in 1941. As in the rest of Europe, the Nazis sought to isolate, imprison, and exterminate Latvia's Jewish population. Aron's family members were killed in the Riga ghetto and in concentration camps. He was imprisoned in seven concentration and labor camps over the course of four years, not knowing if he'd be alive the next day. But Aron was able to survive when German soldiers discovered his skills as an artist. Camp guards and officers asked Aron to make small portraits of family members in exchange for scraps of bread. Aron's artistic skills also helped shield him from grueling slave labor that killed many other Jewish inmates. "If I didn't have a pencil and paper I wouldn't be [alive]. So the pencil and paper did it," Aron says. After the war ended, Aron lived in a displaced persons camp in Austria and received a scholarship to attend Vienna's Academy of Fine Arts.

10-11-17 Diary of Anne Frank transformed into graphic adaptation
Diary of Anne Frank transformed into graphic adaptation
Seventy years after its first publication, Anne Frank's original diary is being transformed. Anne Frank was 15 when she died. She was an aspiring author, and one of more than a million Jewish children killed in the Holocaust. Today her diary - which she nicknamed Kitty - is one of the most-read books in the world. Her teenage prose has spawned Hollywood screenplays, Broadway shows and countless other (re)productions. Now it has been adapted into comic-strip format, in a book produced by the creators of the Oscar-nominated animation Waltz with Bashir, and there is a film coming soon too. Accompanied by excerpts from her diaries and letters, the "graphic diary" depicts the story of how Anne Frank and her family went into hiding after her sister Margot received a summons to report to a Nazi work camp. They survived for almost two years, tiptoeing around in the dark, damp confines of the "achterhuis" (secret annex) before being discovered. Nazis emptied Anne's schoolbag to carry cash and jewellery looted from Jewish homes - her distinctive red-checked diary was recovered from the floor of the hideout.

5-17-17 My grandma's hidden Holocaust heroics
My grandma's hidden Holocaust heroics
We idolized grandpa for surviving death marches. Then we learned what grandma had done. To us, she was an old Jewish woman who had somehow survived the Holocaust. Poppy, on the other hand, had fought in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, and survived death marches and concentration camps. Grandma had too, but for whatever reason she didn't seem like the same survivor. Perhaps I was just a blinkered boy, who could only turn men into my heroes. Or maybe it was because the stories that I had overheard — "He beat up some Germans," my father told company — always featured Poppy. I learned that Poppy had been a sewer rat — one of the boys who traveled through Warsaw's sewers to help secure guns and potatoes for the uprising; he had been a gravedigger in his hometown, forced by the Nazis to bury four thousand of his Jewish neighbors who had been murdered in the woods; he had been a fugitive, cutting the bars on the cattle car and jumping from a train heading for the death camp Treblinka; he had been a slave in six different camps; and he had been a righteous killer, running a pitchfork through some Nazi's throat, leaving the German dead in a barn. Grandma did tell me what she remembered about Warsaw's sewers, but it tunneled us somewhere else. When the Nazis were sending thousands of Jews from the ghetto to the camps, where they would work or more likely be marched into the gas chambers, a group from Grandma's bunker had attempted to escape. Grandma waded with them through the piss and excrement beneath Warsaw. When her group reached an exit, the leader lifted the manhole cover. "They shoot him and his body falls into the s--t," she told me. "We run and I get this sewage splash in my face. But I'm not thinking about this because I know they gonna throw a grenade."

5-9-17 Why were 101 Uzbeks killed in the Netherlands in 1942?
Why were 101 Uzbeks killed in the Netherlands in 1942?
They left their homes in Central Asia to fight against the German army. Then, dressed in rags, they were taken as prisoners to a Dutch concentration camp. Few now alive remember the 101 mostly Uzbek men who were killed in a forest near Amersfoort in 1942 - and they may well have been forgotten entirely if it had not been for a curious Dutch journalist. Every spring hundreds of Dutch men and women, young and old, gather in a forest near the town of Amersfoort, near Utrecht. Here they light candles to commemorate 101 unknown Soviet soldiers who were shot dead by the Nazis at this very spot - and then forgotten for more than half a century. The story was rediscovered 18 years ago, when journalist Remco Reiding returned to the town after working in Russia for several years, and heard from a friend that there was a Soviet war cemetery nearby. "I was surprised as I never heard of it before," Reiding says. "I visited the place and started looking for archives and witnesses." It turned out that 865 Soviet soldiers were buried there, all but 101 of them brought from other parts of the Netherlands or Germany. But the 101, all unnamed, had died in Amersfoort itself. (Webmaster's comment: The Germans were equal opportunity killers. All races and people were to die except the white Aryans in good physical health.)

4-24-17 The Holocaust: Who are the missing million?
The Holocaust: Who are the missing million?
Six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis and their accomplices during World War Two. In many cases entire towns' Jewish populations were wiped out, with no survivors to bear witness - part of the Nazis' plan for the total annihilation of European Jewry. Since 1954, Israel's Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem ("A Memorial and a Name"), has been working to recover the names of all the victims, and to date has managed to identify some 4.7 million. "Every name is very important to us," says Dr Alexander Avram, director of Yad Vashem's Hall of Names and the Central Database of Shoah [Holocaust] Victims' Names. "Every new name we can add to our database is a victory against the Nazis, against the intent of the Nazis to wipe out the Jewish people. Every new name is a small victory against oblivion."

3-27-17 The Jewish photographer who bore witness to the unbearable
The Jewish photographer who bore witness to the unbearable
A new exhibit honors the brave photography of Henryk Ross, who captured the slow erosion of humanity in Poland's Lodz Ghetto. Henryk Ross was a photojournalist working for the Polish press when Germany invaded Poland and his hometown of Lodz in 1939. In the year that followed, Nazis violently rounded up Jews who didn't flee to neighboring European countries and forced them into the Lodz Ghetto — a one-square-mile section of the city, sealed off from the world by walls and barbed wire. Ross and his family lived in the Lodz Ghetto, along with 160,000 other Jews (a population that would swell to 200,000 before plummeting to about 900 during the liquidation), until it was liberated in 1945. As the Lodz Ghetto was transformed into an industrial center for the Nazi war effort, Ross was put to work as a bureaucratic photographer. His official tasks included taking photographs for Jewish identification cards, as well as propaganda images meant to promote the efficiency of the ghetto's labor force.

4-22-16 Jasenovac: Croatia remembers Nazi death camp victims
Jasenovac: Croatia remembers Nazi death camp victims
Croatia has held a memorial service for tens of thousands of people murdered by Nazi Germany's allies at the Jasenovac death camp. Officials laid wreaths at a memorial to victims of the Ustashe puppet regime, which incarcerated Jews, Serbs and others in brutal conditions. However, the service at Jasenovac was boycotted by Jewish and Serb groups. They say the new Croat government has not acted against renewed use of Ustashe salutes by nationalists. (Webmaster's comment: 11 Million people where murdered by the Nazis in death camps all over Europe. Another 6 million were murdered as the Nazis murauded across Europe and another 18 million murdered when they invaded Russia. Men, women and children were shot en masse and bulldozed into pits many while still alive, and they were driven into their village churches and synagogues and burned alive in Russia. People were slaughtered wholesale like cattle without mercy. They are still finding mass graves in Europe and Russia. 35 million murdered people takes a lot of room to hide.)

The movies are all available from Amazon.com but you are free to obtain them from many other sources. Amazon offers them on their website along with many alternate sources, often less expensive. Many are probably also available on NetFlix.com and elsewhere for on-line viewing. You are free to choose whatever source you please. The movie links on the following pages point to the movie location at Amazon.

The Sioux Falls Atheists recommend the 28 Jewish World War II History documentaries, 9 movies, and 5 books described on the following 42 pages:

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Judaism World War II History Movies
Endorsed by Sioux Falls Atheists