Jane Fonda will host an event in Los Angeles focusing on sexual violence during the Holocaust.
More than 200 people are expected for the invitation-only event on Nov. 8 at the Ray Kurtzman Theater. The event is sponsored by the USC Shoah Foundation and Remember the Women Institute.
Fonda, an award-winning actress and a political activist, was asked to be involved because she is active with programs and charities that deal with genocide and gender, a source familiar with the event told JTA. Fonda will read aloud works from Israeli playwright and author Nava Semel, and also will introduce a reel of testimonial clips from Holocaust survivors discussing sexual violence.
"Sexual violence during the Holocaust is rarely spoken about; many historians and scholars don't want to address it," said Rochelle Saidel, executive director of Remember the Women Institute. "It's hard to have rape documentation of the Holocaust because many of the victims were silenced, since it was against Nazi law to have any sexual involvement with Jews. But the reels being shown are gathered testimonials, and it's a part of history that shouldn't be forgotten.
Following Fonda's presentation, a panel will feature Saidel and Stephen Smith, executive director of the USC Shoah Foundation, moderated by Jessica Neuwirth, president of Equality Now.