Renowned Holocaust Scholars to Present Award-Winning Documentary “Shoah”

HOUSTON, TX (June 22, 2011) – The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and Holocaust Museum Houston will present Claude Lanzmann’s monumental documentary “Shoah” in two special screenings this July to mark the film’s 25th anniversary.Shoah

Renowned Holocaust scholars Drs. Robert Jan van Pelt and Michael Berenbaum will introduce and discuss the award-winning 9 1/2-hour documentary, which features interviews with survivors, bystanders and perpetrators in 14 countries, at the first screening on Thursday, July 7, 2011, beginning at 10 a.m. at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s Caroline Wiess Law Building, Lower Level, 1001 Bissonnet, Houston, TX 77005. There will be a lunch break from 3:15–4:15 p.m. between the two parts of the documentary and discussion in the American General Conference room on the mezzanine level of the Audrey Jones Beck building.

A second screening of the film will take place July 9-10, with Part One shown at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Part Two shown on Sunday at the same time.

General admission is $10 for one part of the two-part documentary and $15 for both parts. MFAH and HMH members, students with appropriate IDs, seniors and members of the MFAH Film Buffs will receive a $2 discount. For tickets and more information, visit www.mfah.org.

The New York Times called Claude Lanzmann’s groundbreaking documentary “an epic film about the greatest evil of modern times.” Noted for not using a single frame of historical footage, the power of the film comes from interviews with survivors obtained through Lanzmann’s relentless journalistic approach. The Times’ Richard Corliss declared, “By the end of “Shoah,” the viewer is grateful to have made the forced march with him, for the film’s achievement is to show there are stories worth hearing, and ravaged, resilient faces that reward our scrutiny. The horror, the gallows humor, the shame and the heroism, the lessons of this holocaust — and all others — have not been exhausted.”

Jan van Pelt teaches at the University of Waterloo School of Architecture and is the recipient of many academic honors, including the National Jewish Book Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the title of “University Professor.” He serves on various academic boards and has published seven books dealing with diverse topics such as the cosmic speculations on the temple of Solomon, relativism in architectural history and the construction history of Auschwitz. An internationally recognized authority on the history of Auschwitz, van Pelt appeared in Errol Morris’s film “Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter Jr.” and acted as a senior consultant to the BBC/PBS series “Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State.” Van Pelt chaired the team that developed a master plan for the preservation of Auschwitz and served as an expert witness for the defense in the notorious libel case Irving vs. Penguin and Lipstadt (1998-2001).

Berenbaum is a writer, lecturer and teacher consulting in the conceptual development of museums and the development of historical films. He is director of the Sigi Ziering Institute and a professor of Jewish Studies at the American Jewish University. Berenbaum is the author and editor of 20 books, scores of scholarly articles and hundreds of journalistic pieces. His most recent books include: “Not Your Father’s Antisemitism,” “A Promise to Remember: The Holocaust in the Words and Voices of Its Survivors” and “After the Passion Has Passed: American Religious Consequences,” a collection of essays on Jews, Judaism and Christianity, religious tolerance and pluralism occasioned by the controversy that swirled around Mel Gibson’s film “The Passion.”

The screening of Parts One and Two on July 7, and the work of Jan van Pelt and Berenbaum are sponsored by Holocaust Museum Houston as a part of the 2011 Max M. Kaplan Summer Institute for Educators.

The Max M. Kaplan Summer Institute is a four-day program that moves beyond the general history of the Holocaust to explore the various dimensions and implications of the Holocaust and other genocides. The institute provides substantive content and the opportunity to network with internationally known scholars of the Holocaust and teachers from around the world. The theme for this year is life after the Holocaust – from the experiences of displaced persons to the incorporation of this history in a global narrative.

The presentation of the documentary has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, Inc.; and is generously underwritten by the Max M. Kaplan Teacher Education Fund, the Lea K. Weems Memorial Scholarship Fund and the Chevra Kadisha Holocaust Studies Scholarship Fund, with special thanks to United Airlines, the 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.

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