Film Screening, Discussion Shines Fresh Light On Holocaust

A pre-screening of Ken Burns’ latest film, “The U.S. and the Holocaust,” followed by a brief panel discussion will explore the Holocaust of World War II; how it affected American citizens and helped shape their worldview. Archeologist, historian and historic site manager of Fort Ontario New York State Historic Site Paul Lear (pictured) will join the panel.

OSWEGO COUNTY – Oswego’s Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Shelter Museum and local PBS channel WCNY-TV will host an upcoming event exploring America’s connection to the Holocaust. The event begins at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 25 at WCNY-TV Studios, 415 W. Fayette St., Syracuse, N.Y.

The event is a pre-screening of “The U.S. and the Holocaust,” a film by Ken Burns, followed by a brief panel discussion about American perspectives during that time and how the tragedy of the Holocaust touched the U.S.

The panel features Holocaust survivor and restauranteur Doris Schechter along with historians from across the country. They include Rebecca Erbelding, author and lead historian for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s special exhibit, “Americans and the Holocaust” and Michael Berenbaum, author, professor, project director in the creation of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and director of the Sigi Ziering Institute.

Paul Lear, archeologist, historian and historic site manager of Fort Ontario New York State Historic Site – the site of the former Fort Ontario Emergency Refugee Shelter – will be the only local panelist. The Oswego, N.Y. shelter was the only location in the U.S. that took in refugees of the Holocaust during World War II. Lear has given many presentations on the experiences of the refugees who once called Oswego ‘home’ and whose stories will be featured in Burns’ latest film.

David Lombardo, host of “The Capital Pressroom” and “CONNECT NY,” will moderate the discussion and a short Q&A session to follow.

The event is sponsored by the William G. Pomeroy Foundation, the Jewish Federation of Central New York and the Jewish Community Center of Syracuse.

It is free to attend, but registration is required. Go to to register. In-person participants are asked to arrive between 4:30 and 5 p.m. Light refreshments will be available.

The event will also be made available for viewing via Zoom. Call 315-453-2424 for details.

“The U.S. and the Holocaust” is a six-hour series about the American experience during this period of time. It explores how citizens viewed the crisis and how it shaped their worldview going forward. It will air in three parts, beginning on Sunday, Sept. 18 at 8 p.m. on WCNY-TV.

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