SOMETIMES WE MUST INTERFERE: Conversations on Confronting Inhumanity

Brian Tate | September 9, 2022


As examined in The U.S. and the Holocaust, a new film by Ken Burns, Lynn Novick and Sarah Botstein, the singular horrors of the Holocaust did not occur in a vacuum. In forging the machinery of Nazism, Hitler was influenced by U.S. policies of segregation and second-class citizenship that targeted Black Americans and Native Americans. Inside the U.S., the war that Hitler ignited provided a rationalization for the unjust mass incarceration of Japanese Americans. Today, old forces of antisemitism, racism, and xenophobia continue to evolve and churn new cycles of anti-immigrant hysteria. If left unopposed, those forces would remake our understanding of the past and define the future, causing new, irreparable harm across communities and generations.

SOMETIMES WE MUST INTERFERE: Conversations on Confronting Inhumanity  (September 20-22, 2022) is a three-part series of events that will explore America’s response to the Holocaust and other historic traumas; the reckoning we must face when wholesale bigotry and violence are unmet; and what can be done today to stand against those who would injure entire populations in the name of extremism, greed, and hate.

Presented by The WNET Group, home of America’s flagship PBS station.
Curated by Brian Tate and Mary Burke.
Project management by Jasmine Wilson and LaToya Semple.
Presented in partnership with The WNET Group’s Exploring Hate initiative.

Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe.” – Elie Wiesel


WE MUST TAKE SIDES: A Conversation about the U.S. and the Holocaust 

Day 1: Tuesday, September 20, 6:00-7:30 pm ET

Film highlights and conversation with Debra Schmidt Bach, Ph.D., Daniel Mendelsohn, and Dr. Shay Pilnick. Moderated by Jack Ford. A hybrid event presented at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan.


NO LONGER UNIMAGINABLE: A Conversation with Holocaust Survivors

Day 2: Wednesday, September 21, 6:00-7:30 pm ET

With Michael Bornstein, Rabbinic Pastor Dr. Aliza Levy Erber, Sonja Geismar, and Ilse Melamid. Moderated by Rabbi Shai Held. Opening performance by Morley. Livestreaming at


THE BORDER BETWEEN THEN AND NOW: A Conversation with People Threatened with Deportation

Day 3: Thursday, September 22, 6:00-7:30 pm ET

With Hüsniye Çöğür, Cynthia Garcia, Ravi Ragbir, and Naïscha Vilmé. Moderated by Cristina Jiménez Moreta. Opening performance by Ani Cordero. Livestreaming at



Facing History and Ourselves
Selfhelp Community Services

Held in support of The U.S. and the Holocaust, a film by Ken Burns, Lynn Novick and Sarah Botstein. 

FUNDING FOR THE U.S AND THE HOLOCAUST WAS PROVIDED BY: Bank of America; David M. Rubenstein; the Park Foundation; the Judy and Peter Blum Kovler Foundation; Gilbert S. Omenn and Martha A. Darling; The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations; and by the following members of The Better Angels Society: Jeannie and Jonathan Lavine; Jan and Rick Cohen; Allan and Shelley Holt; the Koret Foundation; David and Susan Kreisman; Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder; Blavatnik Family Foundation; Crown Family Philanthropies, honoring the Crown and Goodman Families; the Fullerton Family Charitable Fund; Dr. Georgette Bennett and Dr. Leonard Polonsky; The Russell Berrie Foundation; Diane and Hal Brierley; John and Catherine Debs; and Leah Joy Zell and the Joy Foundation. Funding was also provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and by public television viewers.


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