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Movies, dining and things to do / Spokane and North Idaho

Magic Lantern set to unveil a hidden history


In our current era of political polarization, it's more important than ever to look to the lessons of history. And just as important, it's essential that we get that history right.

And that's exactly what the movie "Who Will Write Our History" emphasizes, focusing on the necessity of those most affected to ensure that their stories get told accurately. To be specific, the film — a blend of documentary and live-action re-creations — focuses on the action of a group who documented life as endured by those who were confined in Poland's Warsaw Ghetto of World War II.

"Who Will Write Our History" will screen at 7 p.m. both Wednesday and Thursday at the Magic Lantern Theatre. Both showings will be will be hosted by members of the area's Jewish community who will facilitate discussions following the movies. Tickets are $9.

The Warsaw group code-named Oyneg Shabes — which translates to "Joy of the Shabbat" — consisted of a number of writers and scholars who wrote down the stories of the hundreds of thousands living in the ghetto, formed when the Germans invaded in 1939. They buried the documents where they could, hoping that they would survive.

Many, though not all, of the documents did survive. Only three of the group members who compiled them did.

The movie, which is based on the book of the same title by historian Samuel Kassow, was co-written and directed by Roberta Grossman.

Writing in the New York Times, film reviewer Ken Jaworowski said the film "recounts a bold story of Nazi resistance. And inside that one story are countless others, each immensely important."

As one participant quoted in the movie says, "You don't really need guns to fight. You can fight with paper and pen."

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