Documentary: “They Were Not Silent”


This half-hour documentary examines the highly-contentious subject of U.S. response to the rise of Nazism from a new perspective — focusing on the efforts of the Jewish Labor Committee, founded in 1934 as an anti-Nazi umbrella group of Jewish trade unions and cultural/fraternal organizations. It tells the story of the Committee’s anti-Nazi and rescue

activities, including their aid to the underground fighters of the ghettos of East Europe and their assistance to Holocaust survivors in refugee camps across the globe.

The video features rare archival footage and photos plus interviews with labor veterans, Holocaust survivors and scholars, including historians Jack Jacobs, Hanna Papanek, and Kenneth Waltzer, Gus Tyler of UNITE, Bernard Bellush of the N.Y. Labor History Association, and Vladka Meed, a courier in the Warsaw Ghetto Underground, among many others.

In contrast to the Oskar Schindler – Anne Frank approach to Holocaust dramatization, THEY WERE NOT SILENT concentrates on collective response. The video raises complex historical issues, including the intersection of ethnicity and politics, the nature of immigrants’ ties to the lands they had left, the impact of the Depression, xenophobia and isolationism in the labor movement and foreign policy, the priorities of the Roosevelt Administration, and the nature of


NOTE: If you are interested in this video, please contact Arieh Lebowitz,, for more information.

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