The U.S. and the Holocaust

“It is a fantastic commentary on the inhumanity of our times that for thousands and thousands of people a piece of paper with a stamp on it is the difference between life and death.”

Dorothy Thompson, Journalist, 1938

The U.S. and the Holocaust is a three-part, six-hour series that tells the story of how the American people grappled with one of the greatest humanitarian crises of the twentieth century, and how this struggle tested the ideals of our democracy. By examining the periods leading up to and during the Holocaust with fresh eyes, this film dispels competing myths that Americans either were ignorant of the unspeakable persecution that Jews faced in Europe, or that they looked on with callous indifference. It also takes a candid look at the roles that eugenics and racism, as well as xenophobia and antisemitism, played during this crisis and throughout American history. In the process, it grapples with questions that remain essential to our society today: Is America, truly, as it claims to be, a land of immigrants? Why did we fail to rescue a people at the time of their greatest need? How do the continued struggles over how we define our past shape our future as a country?

The U.S. and the Holocaust is directed by Ken Burns, Lynn Novick & Sarah Botstein, telescript by Geoffrey C. Ward and produced by Burns, Novick, Botstein & Mike Welt. Its initial broadcast was September 18-20, 2022.  (6 hours)

Learn more on the official PBS site.

TBAS is grateful to the following donors for their generous support of this film:

Jeannie and Jonathan Lavine

Jan and Rick Cohen

Allan and Shelley Holt

Koret Foundation

David and Susan Kreisman

Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder

Blavatnik Famly Foundation

Crown Family Philanthropies

Fullerton Family Charitable Fund

Dr. Georgette Bennett and Dr. Leonard Polonsky

The Russell Berrie Foundation

Diane and Hal Brierley

John and Catherine Debs

Leah Joy Zell and the Joy Foundation

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