Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project is a full-length contemporary ballet being put on by Ballet Austin and a Holocaust education partnership that promotes the protection of human rights against bigotry and hate through arts, education, and public dialogue. Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project returns to Austin in 2012 from Martin Luther King Jr. Day (January 15) through Yom HaShoah or Holocaust Remembrance Day (April 19), with events/initiatives led by more than 30 community partners. The Austin American Statesman published an editorial about the project by Karen E. Gross, community director of the Austin Anti-Defamation League, Cookie Ruiz, executive director of Ballet Austin, and Bill Stotesbery, chief executive and general manager of KLRU-TV, Austin PBS.
KLRU will produce television and web content related to Light / The Holocaust & Humanity Project and will host Gerda Weissmann Klein as part of Spark on March 20th. During February, KLRU will have special programming each Sunday at 1 pm. The programs will be:
2/5 Irena Sendler: In The Name Of Their Mothers
During WWII, a group of young Polish women, some barely out of their teens, outfoxed the Nazis and rescued thousands of Jewish children from certain death. Over half a century later, 95-year-old Irena Sendler tells the true story, long suppressed in Communist Poland, of this daring conspiracy of women who risked their lives in the name of Warsaw’s Jewish mothers.
2/12 Not In Our Town: Light In The Darkness
In 2008 in Patchogue, NY, a series of attacks against Latino residents ended with the killing of 37-year-old Marcelo Lucero, an Ecuadorian immigrant who had lived there for 13 years. Seven local high school students arrested for the crime admitted they were “looking for a Mexican” to beat up. Over a two-year period, the film followed Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri as he led a diverse group of residents to confront the anti-immigrant bias in their town and repair the fabric of their community life. The victim’s brother, Joselo Lucero, and other Latino residents became leading voices for immigrants while working within the community to address local divisions. Faith leaders mobilized their congregations, and educators and school administrators developed anti-bias programs.
2/19 Not In Our Town: Class Actions
This program tells the stories of a suburban California school district, a mid-western college town and a college campus in the heart of the South where people are working together to stop hate and intolerance, and activitating their communities to create safer, more accepting environments for everyone. “Not In Our Town: Class Actions” profiles local innovators — a teacher who starts an anti-bullying program at her school, then spreads it to five districts; diverse leaders in a college town who bring students, local officials and community members together after a wave of bias attacks; and a coalition of students who take positive action when their core values are threatened. Also airs Feb. 13 at 9 pm
2/26 Teenage Witness: The Fanya Gottesfeld Heller Story
In 1941, the Nazis asserted their power by overrunning tiny villages throughout Eastern Europe. In the middle of the horror and chaos stood 15-year-old Fanya Gottesfeld (Heller). Only through the kindness of a Polish peasant did Fanya survive – hidden beneath a chicken coop with her parents and brother for two-and-a-half years. Based on her acclaimed memoir, Love In A World of Sorrow, this documentary presents a raw and emotional look at survival and the tenacity of the human spirit. Richard Gere narrates. Fanya’s story differs from other Holocaust narratives because of her relationship with a Ukrainian soldier – a Nazi collaborator who helped save her family from certain death. However, this relationship left Fanya with questions she continues to struggle with today. Since the book’s publication in 1993, the Holocaust survivor has dedicated her life to spreading a message of hope to audiences young and old. Today, Fanya shares the details of her ordeal with inner-city teens in the hopes of making them understand, and even relate to, the difficult choices she made. The atrocities of the Holocaust occurred more than 60 years ago, but its lessons of courage and tolerance and the dangers of prejudice and baseless hatred remain relevant today. At the age of 83, Fanya contemplates a return to her hometown of Skala, in present-day Ukraine, accompanied by Father Patrick Desbois, the French-Catholic priest responsible for identifying more than 600 previously unknown graves of Jews. The film follows Fanya as she wrestles with the past and focuses on the importance of her work today.