REFUGE compiles more than 70 years of history into a one-hour documentary that tells the stories of six of the last remaining Holocaust survivors and refugees against the context of the Nazi cataclysm and how a small group of them came together to create a community that has given shelter to more than 1,000 victims of Nazi persecution from Central Europe. The film’s focus lies on the lost world of Central European Jewry prior to World War II and the progress of its final generation at Selfhelp in Chicago.
“Each one saw his or her role in history and realized that they were the last eyewitnesses to these events and their stories had to be told,” REFUGE Director Ethan Bensinger said. Bensinger comes from a German-Jewish family who fled Nazi Germany in the 1930s and settled in Chicago in 1955, where Bensinger currently resides.
The survivors featured speak openly about the loss of family and the difficult decisions they had to make that meant the difference between life and death.
“Many of the stories are heartbreaking… But they also tell of renewal, resilience, of finding love and creating new families, of starting again in a new land,” Bensinger said.
The documentary first premiered at the Illinois Holocaust Museum in June, and has since appeared in 18 film festivals.
The Lawrence screening will begin at 8p.m with an introduction by Bensinger before showing the film. The screening will take place at the Lawrence Jewish Community Congregation at 917 Highland Drive in Lawrence, Kansas.