Genocide in the 21st Century

The Last Survivor explores the idea of genocide in the 21st century as a platform for social action.

— by David Felder, Nancy Strong and Sharon Shore

The term “genocide” is of relatively recent origin. It was first coined by Raphael Lemkin (1900-1959), a Polish-Jewish legal scholar, in 1944. Lemkin’s idea of genocide as an offense against international law was widely accepted by the international community and was one of the legal bases of the Nuremberg trials.

While most of us would prefer to think of genocide as something that belongs to another place and time, it is in fact, an evil that has occurred on nearly every continent in every century, and affects us all as human beings.

On January 28, 2012, Congregation Beth Hamedrosh of Wynnewood will present a program on genocide in the 21st century. The program will be informative and practical, focusing on specific actions that can be taken by individuals and organizations to help survivors of genocides in the 21st century. It will include a showing of the powerful documentary film, The Last Survivor, and a presentation by Dr. Henri Parens.

More after the jump.
Dr. Parens is a Holocaust survivor and a Professor of Psychiatry, Thomas Jefferson University, and a Training and Supervising Analyst at the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia. There will be an opportunity for discussion following Dr. Parens’ presentation.

The Last Survivor is a character-based, feature-length documentary that follows the lives of survivors of four different genocides – The Holocaust, Rwanda, Darfur, and Congo. By presenting these stories of loss, survival, and hope side by side, the film highlights the commonalities these individuals share, both as survivors and, more broadly, as human beings. Shot on location in five countries across four continents, the film focuses on the universality of the horror of genocide, combating the misguided
notion that genocide is something that happens “over there.” The Last Survivor has received national and international recognition including numerous film festival awards for best documentary.

The program will take place at 7:30 PM on Saturday, January 28, 2012 at Congregation Beth Hamedrosh, 200 Haverford Road, Wynnewood, PA. The charge for admission is $5.00 in advance and $8.00 at the door. Tickets can be obtained by contacting the synagogue office at (610) 642-6444.

Congregation Beth Hamedrosh is a mutually supportive community of families and individuals who are looking to grow, enjoy and share in an Orthodox way of life. We welcome Jews of all backgrounds and levels of observance. Through programs such as this presentation of The Last Survivor, CBH seeks to better understand how the Jewish community should respond to events in both the United States and the world.

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