Holocaust Center to Screen Film about WWII Jewish Partisans
Galloway, N.J. — It’s a question that Gail Rosenthal hears a lot, especially in her job as the executive director of Stockton University’s Sara & Sam Schoffer Holocaust Resource Center.
Why didn’t the Jews fight back?
“They did! And many were called partisans, and they fought in the woods mostly in Eastern Europe and Nazi-occupied Europe,” she said.
To bring more attention to this part of the Holocaust, the center will host a screening of an award-winning documentary titled “Four Winters: A Story of Jewish Partisan Resistance and Bravery in World War II.” The film uses eyewitness testimonies of Holocaust survivors who were partisans interwoven with archival footage.
The one-time only screening will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 24, at the Tilton Square Theatre in Northfield. The film debuted last year and was named Best Documentary at the Toronto Jewish Film Festival and won a Human Rights Award at the Hamptons Doc Fest in New York.
“It’s an important film for educators and our community because it answers that question that so many of our students ask,” Rosenthal said.
The movie is also especially close to Leo Schoffer. Both of his parents, whom the Holocaust Resource Center is named after, were part of a partisan group after they escaped from the Vilna ghetto in what is now Lithuania.
Many people think there was very little resistance, and that the Jewish victims of the Holocaust were simply taken like sheep to the slaughter. That’s not the case."
He felt a very strong connection to the movie because his “whole childhood I heard these stories. Many of the stories the people told (in the movie) were similar to stories I had heard growing up with family and friends of my family that were also in the partisans.” Schoffer added that the story of resistance against oppression is an important one today, especially with the Russia-Ukraine war.
Schoffer mentioned that several of the survivors interviewed in the story have died, which makes the documentary that much more important.
“This is a special film because they have captured the story of these survivors, and they are gone now,” he said. “But at least we have it on film to tell their story.
Stockton University faculty and staff members will be available to answer questions after the screening. Schoffer said Brett DeNafo, of Tilton Square Theatre, and Ed Gurwicz, the owner of the building where the theater is located, donated the space to screen the film. Tickets are $20 and must be bought in advance online at squaretheatres.com/AdvancedTickets.
All proceeds will benefit the Holocaust Resource Center. For more information, call 609-652-4699. Donations to sponsor an educator or student to attend will also be accepted.