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Release: Nov. 3, 1999

Beginning of Holocaust commemorated with film, discussion

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Five Hungarian survivors of Hitler’s infamous genocidal killings journey back to their hometowns and to the places where they faced the Holocaust and witnessed systemic murders in the film "The Last Days," to be shown at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 10, Room 106, Gilmore Hall. The film’s showing commemorates the 61st anniversary of "Kristallnacht," the beginning of the Nazi Holocaust against Jewish peoples, and is presented by the local chapter of Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life located at the Aliber-Hillel Jewish Student Center at the University of Iowa.

The film’s showing is also part of a nationwide screening that will take place on college campuses. "The Last Days," released in 1998 and produced by Steven Spielberg, June Beallor, and Ken Lipper, received an Academy Award for Best Documentary.

David Shoenbaum, professor, department of history, will lead a post-screening student discussion designed to engage students in a dialogue about the issues that inspired the making of the film.

In a prepared statement, Spielberg says he hopes students of this and future generations continue to engage in a discussion about the consequences of bigotry and hatred. Spielberg established Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation in 1994 to videotape and archive interviews with survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust. Information about the foundation’s efforts can be found at its Web site,

For additional information about the event, contact Gerald Sorokin, director, Aliber-Hillel Jewish Center, at (319) 338-0778.