HOUSTON, TX (Jan. 17, 2011) – Holocaust Museum Houston, the American Jewish Committee and the Consulate General of Italy will commemorate the United Nations’ International Holocaust Remembrance Day with a free screening of the dramatic story of 50 high-ranking Italian diplomats and generals who saved almost 50,000 Jewish lives during some of the darkest and most tragic moments of the 20th century.
The documentary film "50 Italians: The Men Who Saved 50,000 Jewish Lives" will be shown Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011, from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in the Albert and Ethel Herzstein Theater at Holocaust Museum Houston’s Morgan Family Center, 5401 Caroline St. in Houston’s Museum District.
Admission is free, but seating is limited and advance registration is required. To RSVP online, visit http://www.hmh.org/RegisterEvent.aspx.
The documentary by Flaminia Lubin tells the story of 50 men in Italy's occupied territories – Croatia, Yugoslavia, the South of France and Greece – who were chosen to represent the Italian fascist regime but instead were guided by a personal choice to save human lives.
Using archival footage and interviews with some of the survivors, the documentary follows events through Southern Europe where the 50 Italians were stationed, and where they used their influence to avoid handing over the Jews, Italian and non-Italian, to the Germans.
In May of 1939, when the Pact of Steel was signed in Berlin, Benito Mussolini whole-heartedly committed Italy to the German cause. In August, German Foreign Minister Ribbentrop conferred with Italian Foreign Minister Ciano, who was Mussolini’s son-in-law. Ciano was shocked by the true extent of Germany’s ambitions. Within weeks, on Sept. 1, 1.5 million German troops invaded Poland. The war – and Germany’s "Final Solution" – had begun. After Germany’s success in France, Italy joined the war in June 1940.
The documentary follows events from 1940 until the proclamation of the armistice between the United States and Italy on Sept. 8, 1943. The film is presented with special thanks to United Airlines, official airline of Holocaust Museum Houston.
Holocaust Museum Houston is dedicated to educating people about the Holocaust, remembering the 6 million Jews and other innocent victims and honoring the survivors' legacy. Using the lessons of the Holocaust and other genocides, the Museum teaches the dangers of hatred, prejudice and apathy.
Holocaust Museum Houston’s Morgan Family Center is free and open to the public and is located in Houston’s Museum District at 5401 Caroline St., Houston, TX 77004. For more information about the Museum, call 713-942-8000 or visit www.hmh.org.