Once again, the summer season, noted for youth-oriented blockbusters, manages to include some serious fare aimed at more mature, discerning audiences, including several projects dealing with the World War II era and its aftermath.
Sixty-five years ago at the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany, 22 defendants stood in the dock. They represented a cross-section of Nazi diplomatic, economic, political and military leadership, and became the first people in history to be indicted for crimes against humanity.
The Nuremberg Trials, which opened with the reading of charges against 24 defendants in Berlin on Oct. 18, 1945, and reconvened in Nuremberg on Nov. 20, confronted Germans with the reality of what had been done in their name. It was the beginning of a process of reckoning and repentance that continues to this day.
I have friends and parents of friends with numbers on their arms. The guy who taught me Spanish was a Holocaust survivor. He worked in a concentration camp in France. Yes of course. Atrocities happened. War is horrible. The Second World War killed tens of millions of people. Some of them were Jews in concentration camps.
Half of Tina Feiger's family fled from there in 1938. Barbara Ravitz became so anxious on a visit there in 1969 that she hasn't been back since. Sherri Lipman, like so many American Jews, has never been there.
On Nov. 25, they will be in Germany, part of a huge, largely Jewish choral ensemble singing music based on a Jewish text, written by of one of the world's most renowned Jewish composers. They will be not just in Germany, but in Nuremberg, where the Nazi regime generated its restrictive anti-Semitic laws. Not just in Nuremberg, but in a concert hall built over the rubble of the arena where thousands of Germans gathered in the 1930s to affirm Adolf Hitler's hate-filled rants.