In the new history, We’ll Always Have Casablanca, film historian Noah Isenberg gives a rich account of this beloved movie’s origins. Through extensive research and interviews with filmmakers, film critics, family members of the cast and crew, and diehard fans, Isenberg reveals the myths and realities behind Casablanca’s production, focusing in particular on the central role of refugees—nearly all the actors were immigrants from Hitler’s Europe.
At a luxurious Berlin hotel between the wars, the once-wealthy Baron Felix von Gaigern (John Barrymore) supports himself as a thief and gambler among a cast of other colorful characters. Film scholar Noah Isenberg (The New School) introduces this lavish adaptation of the Austrian-Jewish writer Vicki Baum’s genre-defining 1929 novel, Menschen im Hotel.
He drew sketches on tiny pieces of paper and sent them from the trenches to a young cellist who was waiting for him in Berlin. She thought he was a genius, and after WWI she helped him become the busiest architect in Germany. Historian Gavriel Rosenfeld (Fairfield University) introduces this cinematic meditation on the architect Erich Mendelsohn.
This effervescent, sunlit silent film, about a handful of city dwellers enjoying a weekend outing (a charming cast of nonprofessionals), offers a rare glimpse of Weimar-era Berlin. Film Scholar Noah Isenberg (The New School) introduces a screening of this early experimental masterpiece by Jewish filmmakers who all went on to become major players in Hollywood.
“The Blum Affair” (1948) directed by Erich Engel for the East German Film production studio DEFA, tells the story of a 1926 court case in Magdeburg: Dr. Blum, a Jewish manufacturer, is falsely accused of a murder.
A new exhibit, “Allied in the Fight,” on display in The David Berg Rare Book Room at the Center for Jewish History recounts the efforts made by American Jews and African Americans to fight for the fundamental American promise of equality before and during the Civil Rights era. Additionally, “Rosenwald,” a film by Aviva Kempner, tells the remarkable story of a Jewish partnership with African American communities.
Feature documentary Return to a Burning House portrays the life of heroine Haviva Reick (1914-1944), an activist during the Slovak National Uprising, a member of British Intelligence and the Palmach, and a passionate Zionist leader. After joining the Palmach strike force of pre-Israel’s army, she was recruited by the British military in 1944 and sent back to Slovakia to rescue Allied airmen and help the remnant of the Jewish community
At age 98, director Arnon Goldfinger’s grandmother passed away, leaving him the task of clearing out the Tel Aviv flat that she and her husband shared for decades after immigrating from Nazi Germany in the 1930s. Sifting through a mountain of photos, letters, files, and objects, Goldfinger undertook the complex process of making sense of the accumulated ephemera of a lifetime.
Andrew Marc Caplan, 2014-15 Cahnman Senior Scholar at CJH, will present his groundbreaking research on Jewish modernity in conjunction with a screening of Arnold Schoenberg’s Moses und Aron.
An Unknown Country is an independent film that tells the story of European Jews who were able to reach the shores of Ecuador in the 1930s. Featuring first hand accounts and archival material, the film opens a window on the exiles’ perilous escape and difficult adjustment as they remade their lives in an unknown land. With an introductory Lecture by Dr. Leo Spitzer.