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Israeli Films Discussion at ECU Tackles Holocaust Story

For the first four decades following the creation of the State of Israel, few Israeli films tackled the story of the Holocaust. This trend has been reversed since the early 1990s, and presently, Israeli documentaries and feature films that delve into the issue of the Holocaust and its impact on first- and second-generation survivors are regularly released.

A discussion about the Holocaust story in Israeli cinema is the focus of two upcoming events at East Carolina University. The free, two-day event will include a film screening of “Under the Domim Tree” on Dec. 1, and a follow-up guest lecture and Q&A session with Yaron Shemer, assistant professor of Israel cultural studies at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, on Dec. 2, titled “Holocaust in Israeli Cinema.”

Both events will begin at 6:30 p.m. in Speight Auditorium, room 1220 of the Jenkins Fine Arts Center. The events will address the reasons for the early meager treatment of the Holocaust, provide various explanations for the change and will delineate the main features in the portrayal of the Holocaust in Israeli films.

“The treatment of the Holocaust in Hollywood, or even German films, has received much critical attention,” said Susanne Lenné Jones, assistant professor of German at ECU and organizer for the event. “However, we know little about the ways in which Israeli cinema has dealt with the horrors that have shaped the nation’s identity from its inception.”

Shemer, who concludes the two-day event, is the author of numerous research articles that focus on contemporary Mizrahi films and on terrorism in Middle Eastern cinema. He has produced and directed films in Israel, Poland and the United States, including “Pilgrimage of Remembrance: The Jews of Poland” (1991) and “The Road to Peace: Israelis and Palestinians” (1995). He is currently completing his book manuscript “Identity, Place, and Subversion in Contemporary Mizrahi Cinema.” Shemer received his doctoral degree in radio-television-film from the University of Texas at Austin in 2005.

The Holocaust in Israeli Cinema events are organized by the German program in the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, and are made possible by the Carolina Center for Jewish Studies through a grant from the Charles H. Revson Foundation.

For additional information, contact Lenné Jones at 252-737-2390 or jonessu@ecu.edu. Individuals requesting accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should call 252-737-1016 (voice/TTY) at least 48 hours prior to the event.