Safeguarding Memory Press Release
P R E S S R E L E A S E KCPT Friday, May 3 at 10:00pm Screening of New Documentary: Safeguarding Memory: Commemorating Jewish Mass Graves in Poland
Narrated by Theodore Bikel
(Montclair, NJ): While it is widely known that the Germans built seven death camps and many concentration camps and ghettos within Poland as part of their plan to annihilate the Jewish people during World War II, few are aware that the country is also lined with mass burial grounds of thousands of Jewish Holocaust victims. Most of these sites have never been identified, adding another layer of tragedy to the horrific genocide of the Jews. But today some elderly Poles, who were teenagers at the time of these slaughters, are sharing details about the mass murders. Witnesses to the massacres, these Polish individuals have never been able to erase the nightmares of their hidden memories.
Safeguarding Memory: Commemorating Jewish Mass Graves in Poland is a 27 minute documentary narrated by actor Theodore Bikel that relays a few of these stories as told to three individuals: Poland’s Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich; Polish businessman Zbigniew Nizinski who spends his free time finding witnesses interested in sharing the stories of the atrocities they beheld; and NY businessman Harley Lippman, a member of the US Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad, who is determined to ensure that these Jewish mass graves are properly marked and respected.
Safeguarding Memory: Commemorating Jewish Mass Graves in Poland is a production of JEMGLO, a nonprofit multimedia company based in Montclair, NJ. Director: Curt Fissel Producer: Ellen Friedland Executive Producer: Harley Lippman Narrator: Theodore Bikel
BACKGROUND ABOUT JEMGLO:
Since the founding of JEM/GLO in December 1996, the nonprofit multimedia company has produced eight documentaries: three one-hour programs, three 40-minute productions, and three half-hour documentaries. The most recent program prior to Safeguarding Memory was entitled Delicious Peace Grows In A Ugandan Coffee Bean; narrated by actor Ed O’Neill of Modern Family, it is currently on the film festival circuit and has already won Best Short Documentary at the New Jersey International Film Festival and Best Documentary at the Bronzeville Film Festival in Chicago. Additional film festivals where it has screened and is scheduled to screen as of the present time include: Santa Barbara International FF, Sedona International FF, Gasparilla International FF (Tampa), Cincinnati International FF, Breckenridge (Colorado) FF, United Nations Association FF (Palo Alto CA), VideoFest Dallas, and Peace On Earth FF. The other seven JEMGLO documentaries followed PBS routes. The previous JEMGLO documentary for which Safeguarding Memory’s executive director Harley Lippman also served as executive director, A Torah Returns to Poland, was broadcast into more than 48% of PBS audiences. It was also the recipient of a silver Telly award and a Summit award. JEMGLO’s Klezmer Musicians Travel “Home” to Krakow was presented as a pledge show and for regular programming on WNET/Channel 13 in New York and a number of other PBS stations; other JEMGLO productions also received significant airing on PBS stations across the US, at culture festivals worldwide, universities and other educational institutions in the US, at several foreign embassies and consulates, and at the United Nations.
The principals of JEM/GLO are director / cinematographer / editor Curt Fissel and producer / writer Ellen Friedland, who are also the principals of the corporate video company Voices & Visions Productions, Ltd. The chief photographer at NJN (NJ’s PBS station) for 18 years, Curt has been involved in the production of dozens of documentaries. He has received Emmy nominations, a Cine Golden Eagle, and numerous journalism awards, and he has freelanced for stations such as YES Network, HBO, ABC Nightline, CBS, The Voice of America, CNN, and the Outdoor Life Network. Ellen began her career as an attorney, then became a print journalist. She continues to write stories for a number of publications, has had her poetry exhibited, and has been the recipient of an award from the NJ Press Association. Narrator Theodore Bikel is one of the most talented and versatile artists in the theater, film, and music worlds today. He was the original Captain Von Trapp on Broadway’s The Sound of Music and has performed over 2,000 times as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof.
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