Film premiere features Chicago area Holocaust survivors

Submitted by Oakton Community College
Posted4/11/2013 11:32 AM

In the late 1930s, a group of young German Jews avoided Nazi persecution by immigrating to Chicago, where they created a supportive community. Eventually, they established a Jewish retirement home on the city's north side, where many of the area's last Holocaust survivors live today.

Delve into their stories during a free screening and panel discussion open to the public, starting at 11 a.m., Tuesday, April 16, at Oakton Community College, 7701 North Lincoln Avenue, Skokie (Room P103).

"Refuge: Stories of the Selfhelp Home," a film by Ethan Bensiger, is a one-hour documentary that intertwines historical narrative, archival footage, and deeply personal testimony to explore the lives of six Selfhelp residents.

Bensinger served as managing director of the Chicago office of a global immigration law firm for more than two decades. Since his retirement, he has been involved in several volunteer and philanthropic endeavors. With this documentary, Bensinger has turned his love of gathering historical narratives into a new career in filmmaking.

Bensinger, renown Holocaust scholar and Roosevelt University Emeritus Professor of History Leon Stein, Ph.D., and Oakton Professor of History Wendy Maier-Sarti will lead the panel discussion.

Jewish Studies at Oakton is sponsoring the event, with a generous grant from the College's Educational Foundation.

For more information, contact Maier-Sarti at (847) 635-1458 or