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

Brian Tate | September 8, 2022

Presented at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, Tuesday, September 20, 6:00-7:30 pm ET.  Click below to register for this event. 

Explore America’s response to one of the greatest humanitarian crises in history with excerpts from the new documentary The U.S. and the Holocaust, and expert conversation featuring Debra Schmidt Bach, Ph.D.,  Daniel Mendelsohn and Dr. Shay Pilnik, moderated by Jack Ford.  Join the event online or attend in-person at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan.

The U.S. and the Holocaust, directed and produced by Ken Burns, Lynn Novick and Sarah Botstein, tackles a range of questions that remain essential to our society today, including how racism influences policies related to immigration and refugees as well as how governments and people respond to the rise of authoritarian states that manipulate history and facts to consolidate power. Combining the first-person accounts of Holocaust witnesses and survivors and interviews with leading historians and writers, The U.S. and the Holocaust dispels competing myths that Americans either were ignorant of the unspeakable persecution that Jews and other targeted minorities faced in Europe or that they looked on with callous indifference. The series premieres September 18 ET (check local listings) on PBS stations nationwide, PBS.org and the THIRTEEN Explore and PBS Video apps.


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Jack Ford, Host, MetroFocus 

Debra Schmidt Bach, Ph.D., Curator of Decorative Arts and Special Exhibitions, New-York Historical Society
Daniel Mendelsohn, author, THE LOST: A Search for Six of Six Million
Dr. Shay Pilnik, Director, Emil A. and Jenny Fish Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Yeshiva University


Debra Schmidt Bach, Ph.D.: How Jews have confronted the seemingly eternal scourge of hatred – The Forward
Daniel Mendelsohn: Giving Death a Face – The New York Times
Dr. Shay Pilnik: Never Forget, But Never Dilute – Tablet


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

Series Schedule

September 20: WE MUST TAKE SIDES: A Conversation about the U.S. and the Holocaust†
September 21: NO LONGER UNIMAGINABLE: A Conversation with Holocaust Survivors*
September 22: THE BORDER BETWEEN THEN AND NOW: A Conversation with People Threatened with Deportation* 

† Hybrid event with in-person presentation held at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan. 

* Livestreaming at pbs.org/exploringhate.

All programs held 6:00-7:30 pm ET.   

Promotional Partners

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.