The Holocaust and the United States2019-01-11T20:03:34+00:00

The Holocaust and the United States

The Holocaust and the United States will tell the story of how in the 1930s and
1940s, the American government and its people grappled with the greatest
refugee crisis of the twentieth century, and how that struggle tested the ideals of
our democracy. This film, being made in conjunction with a groundbreaking
exhibit by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, will ask three
essential questions: What did we know? When did we know it? What did we do
about it? Dispelling the competing myths that Americans either were ignorant of
what was happening in Europe, or that they looked upon the Nazis’ persecution
of Jews as well as other groups with callous indifference, the film will wrestle
with issues that resonate to this day, including the question: what is America’s
obligation as a land of immigrants and refugees?

At the center of our story is a fascinating cast of complicated characters whose
decisions, beliefs, prejudices, and ideals helped determine the course of history
and the fates of millions of European Jews and others: journalist Dorothy
Thompson, actor and director Charlie Chaplin, populist crusader and radio
personality Father Charles Coughlin, aviator and champion of the America First
movement Charles Lindberg, Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau, First Lady
Eleanor Roosevelt, physicist Albert Einstein, auto magnate Henry Ford, financier
and isolationist ambassador to Great Britain Joseph Kennedy and President
Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Beginning with the premise that a better response to the crisis may well have
been possible, The Holocaust and the United States will raise a multitude of
questions for present and future generations to consider. What are the
responsibilities of a nation to intervene in humanitarian crises? What are the
boundaries of self-interest? What roles do our leaders and our free press play in
shaping public opinion? And what can individuals do when governments fail to
act?