College to Present Documentary “Tak for Alt”

Holocaust Survivor and Civil Rights Activist Judy Meisel to Speak

Monday, October 15, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA – Chestnut Hill College will show the film “Tak for Alt” (Thanks for Everything in Danish) on Monday, October 15 at 7 p.m. in the Redmond Room, St. Joseph Hall. Judy Meisel, Holocaust survivor, civil rights activist and subject of the documentary, will speak after the viewing. 

 

“Tak for Alt” tells the story of Meisel, whose experiences during World War II inspired a life-long campaign against racism. Connecting the Holocaust and the American civil rights movement, “Tak for Alt” opens with Meisel recalling news coverage of a 1963 race riot in Philadelphia, sparked by a black family, the Bakers, moving into an all-white neighborhood. Spurred by her memories of being removed from her home by German soldiers in Lithuania in 1938, she baked some cookies and went visit the Baker family, beginning her own journey toward fighting for equality.

 

The ensuing film weaves archival material and location footage of Meisel retracing her wartime experiences through Eastern Europe: working slave labor in a Kovno Ghetto boot factory, watching her mother disappear into the Stutthof Concentration Camp gas chamber, crawling across a frozen river after fleeing a death march, passing as a Catholic while working for the Wermacht, and finally escaping to Denmark, 16 years old and weighing forty-seven pounds.

 

Unlike many Holocaust films that end with liberation in 1945, “Tak for Alt” contextualizes these wartime events within Judy's continuing work as a civil rights advocate and educator, utilizing her experiences as a means to combat bigotry and racism here in the United States. The film underscores that the Holocaust is not just an historical event or a Jewish issue. Acts of intolerance continue across the world today, impacting people of varying color, religion, political affiliation, and sexual orientation. Through the film, Judy Meisel offers an example that one person can make a difference.

 

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Marie Conn, Ph.D., Professor of religious studies at 215.248.7044 or mconn@chc.edu.