May 3, 2016: Sheldon Silver Sentenced. Treblinka’s Last Witness. Janis Joplin.

May 04, 2016 at 5:54 am

He was once one of the most powerful politicians in New York: one of the so-called “three men in the room” alongside former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Governor Andrew Cuomo. Former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was convicted last year on seven counts of corruption charges, which included honest-services fraud, extortion and money laundering. Prosecutors had said that Silver accumulated nearly $4 million dollars in kickbacks from arrangements involving a real-estate company and an oncologist. Now, after nearly six months, Silver is set to receive his sentence, and we’re here to discuss its implications. Next, Auschwitz or Bergen-Belsen might immediately bring to mind the horrors of the Holocaust and concentration camps, but do you know the word Treblinka? If not, then you should. Treblinka was a Nazi extermination camp that operated for just fifteen months during World War II. In that time, as many as 1 million people were murdered in its gas chambers, with thousands of men, women, and children killed every day. In the end, only about 100 people were liberated from the camp. The last witness to the horrors within Treblinka, Samuel Willenberg, died this past February, but not before sharing his testimony of what happened behind the death camp’s walls. That testimony will be heard in PBS’ Treblinka’s Last Witness on May 4, but tonight, we have Rabbi Marvin Hier, the founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, to talk about Treblinka’s legacy and Samuel Willenberg. Then finally, “Mercedes Benz,” “Me and Bobby McGee,” and “Piece of My Heart.” Janis Joplin will always be remembered as a rock and roll legend, both in her career and her life, which ended tragically at just 27 years old due to a heroin overdose. Janis’ sister, Laura Joplin, joins us 45 years later to remember her sister’s life, and explosive voice, in anticipation of the new American Masters documentary Janis: Little Girl Blue, which premieres nationwide tonight.