Soul Witness, The Brookline Holocaust Witness Project, a work-in-progress documentary film based on Holocaust testimonies conducted over 20 years ago, will screen on January 25, at 7 pm at the Coolidge Corner Theatre. The event will be presented in observance of International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Following the film, Soul Witness Producer/Director R. Harvey Bravman will introduce a new video featuring recent interviews of people connected to the 1990’s interview project.
Soul Witness, The Brookline Holocaust Witness Project sold out the Coolidge twice in 2017. On the morning of November 30, Brookline High School sent hundreds of students and teachers to the Coolidge on a field trip to see the film.
The film is based on over 80 hours of holocaust testimonies of mostly Brookline survivors. Most of the testimonies were conducted in 1990 and 1991. The interview tapes were locked away in a metal storage unit for over 20 years.
The new video will feature interviews from:
- Lawrence Langer: he is a world-renowned Holocaust testimony expert and author of the book, Holocaust Testimonies: The Ruins of Memory. Langer conducted about 80 percent of the Brookline interviews and supervised all of them.
- Stephen Bressler: he served as the Brookline Human Relations Director from 1973-2013. Bressler was a key facilitator of the Brookline Holocaust Witness Project, serving the Town’s Holocaust Memorial Committee. Bressler also conducted some of the interviews.
- Dr. Lloyd Gellineau: he serves as Brookline’s Chief Diversity Officer. Dr. Gellineau discovered the interview tapes in a metal storage unit and recruited Bravman to make the film.
- Arthur Freedman: he is the nephew of the late Leon Satenstein. A witness to the liberation of the Dachau Concentration Camp, Satenstein was the Co-Founder of the Brookline Holocaust Witness Project. Upon his death, Satenstein bequeathed to Brookline the funds necessary to digitize the 1990s video footage.
- Jamie Traynor; she served as Studio Production Manager for Brookline Access Television, now Brookline Interactive Group. Traynor was present at several of the Brookline Holocaust Witness Project interviews in the 1990’s.
- Cheryl Lefman; Lefman’s father, Henry Lefman, a Holocaust survivor, was interviewed in 1990 for the project and is featured in Soul Witness.
- Dena Salzberg: Four members of Salzberg’s family, all Holocaust survivors, were interviewed in the 1990s as part of the Brookline Holocaust Witness Project. Salzberg’s father, Hyman Laufer, and her uncle, Bernard Shuster, are featured in Soul Witness.
Facing History and Ourselves recently provided Bravman with a letter of support which included this statement, “The varies survivor voices in this film effectively and poignantly illustrate the impossible dilemmas faced by individuals under Nazi terror, as well as the lifelong impact of those experiences on the survivors themselves. This film is important both for the stories that survivors share, but also for the way their voices are presented. The structure and tone of the film “humanize” these individuals who might otherwise be perceived simply as victims.”
Brookline Community Foundation Executive Director, Jenny Amory, a supporter of the project said: “We are very moved by Harvey Bravman’s work and see this as an incredibly important film.”
The evening will include a Q&A moderated by Adam Strom of Re-Imagining Migration. Panelists include R. Harvey Bravman, Producer/Director of Soul Witness, Margo Strom, Founder of Facing History and Ourselves and Janet Stein, President of American Association of Jewish Holocaust Survivors of Greater Boston and Generations After.
Supporters of the film include Facing History and Ourselves, Brookline Community Foundation, Fortunoff Archives for Holocaust Testimony at Yale University, Hamilton Company Charitable Foundation, Re-Imagining Migration and the Town of Brookline.
More information can be found at SoulWitness.org.
Contributions to help Bravman complete the project can be made online or mailed to Brookline Hub –