CONWAY, Ark. (Arkansas PBS) – Arkansas PBS has released a new digital series, “Arkansas and the Holocaust,” in recognition of International Holocaust Remembrance Day Jan. 27. The series is available on demand at bit.ly/arkansasandtheholocaustplaylist.
The digital series is produced in conjunction with “The U.S. and the Holocaust,” a film by Ken Burns, Lynn Novick and Sarah Botstein, that takes an in-depth and unflinching look at America’s response to the Holocaust – one of humanity’s darkest hours. Inspired by the film, Arkansas PBS sought out experts and activists in the state to discuss how the Holocaust influenced, and was influenced by, Arkansas’s local story, and how this chapter of history is being taught in schools across the state.
“Arkansas and the Holocaust” features the following segments:
- “Arkansas Conversations About ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust.’” – Arkansans respond to the issues surrounding “The U.S. and the Holocaust.” Interviewees include Caree Banton, Ph.D. (University of Arkansas, director of African American Studies); Kevin Simpson, Ph.D. (John Brown University professor of psychology, teaches psychology and the Holocaust); Ricky Manes (high school history teacher who wrote the curriculum for the Holocaust studies for Arkansas public schools); Steve Ronnel (Holocaust education activist and member of the Arkansas Jewish community).
- “Caree A. Banton, Ph.D. – A Conversation About ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust.’” – How did the Holocaust and African American history intersect? University of Arkansas Director of African and African American Studies Caree Banton, Ph.D., explores the topic and discusses the “ … very interesting, direct and deliberate ways …” the Nazis conducted research in the U.S. on Jim Crow laws and America’s treatment of indigenous people.
- “Kevin E. Simpson, Ph.D. – A Conversation About ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust.’” – Dr. Simpson has long been interested in the psychology of history and teaches the psychology and history of the Holocaust. He sits down with Arkansas PBS to talk about the difficult history presented in “The U.S. and the Holocaust” film and the importance of keeping this history alive. Simpson is also the author of “Soccer under the Swastika: The Beautiful Game During the Holocaust,” a unique, often untold part of history mixed in with a little psychology.
- “Dr. Terrence Roberts – A Conversation About ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust.’” – Dr. Terrence Roberts, one of the members of the Little Rock Nine, sat down with Arkansas PBS to discuss why he decided to join the group of Black students who integrated the racially segregated Central High School. Roberts’ experience as a young person with many questions about the unequal treatment of African Americans led him to explore his father’s experience being conscripted into the Navy prior to World War II, the treatment of African American soldiers while serving and the Double V campaign. He also shares his thoughts on Holocaust history, the Nazis’ research of the Jim Crow South and Nazi interest in how the United States codified the separation of Black and white citizens.
- “Ricky Manes – A Conversation About ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust.’” – Arkansas native Ricky Manes has a passion for teaching history. For many years, he was an educator at his alma mater, Bentonville High School, and he now teaches at Bryant High School. Listen as Manes shares his journey from a young student disinterested in history to becoming a teacher who makes history come alive. He also discusses holocaust education and was recently asked to work with the Arkansas Department of Education to develop the newly mandated Holocaust education for grades five through 12 instruction in all public schools.
- “Steve Ronnel – A Conversation About ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust.’” – Steve Ronnel is a native Arkansan and a proud member of the Arkansas Jewish community. In this interview, he shares a personal experience of antisemitism and details the disturbing rise of anti-Semitism and hate speech in Arkansas. Those realizations led Steve and his son, David, to join the growing number of Arkansans who were working to bring Holocaust education to public schools in a formal way by supporting the act “To Require Holocaust Education Be Taught in All Public Schools,” which former Gov. Asa Hutchinson eventually signed into law April 8, 2021. Hear Steve’s story of working alongside his teenage son to find other like-minded educators and civic, business and religious leaders who cooperated to pass legislation that made Arkansas the first state in the region to make Holocaust education mandatory statewide in public schools.
- “‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Arkansas PBS Preview Screening Panel Discussion.” – This recording from a free public forum focusing on the documentary “The U.S. and the Holocaust” presented in partnership with University of Arkansas Libraries and Fayetteville Public Library explores how people today can learn from the past. The conversation – moderated by University of Arkansas Associate Professor of Italian Ryan Calabratta-Sajder, Ph.D. – with University of Arkansas Director of African and African American Studies Carree Banton, Ph.D.; University of Arkansas Director of Jewish Studies Jennifer Hoyer, Ph.D.; University of Arkansas Professor of History Richard Sonn, Ph.D.; and University of Arkansas public policy doctoral student Toby Klein tackles questions raised in the documentary that remain essential to society today.
- “German Prisoners of War in Arkansas.” – Produced by the students of The Delta School in Wilson, Arkansas. Erwin Rommel was a German General leading Axis soldiers during World War II. His troops were stationed in Africa, and in May of 1942 he surrendered to the British Allied troops. From 1942 – 1949, German Prisoners of War were brought to the United States of America and were stationed at 700 camps across the country. On any given day, there were about 2,500 Prisoners of War stationed, working and recreating throughout Mississippi County, Arkansas. “German Prisoners of War in Arkansas” was submitted to Arkansas PBS Student Selects and was the 2017 Arkansas Historic Places Student Film Contest Second Place Winner.
“The U.S. and the Holocaust” is a production of Florentine Films and WETA Washington, D.C. Corporate funding provided by Bank of America. Major funding provided by David M. Rubenstein; the Park Foundation; the Judy and Peter Blum Kovler Foundation; Gilbert S. Omenn and Martha A. Darling; The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations; and by the following members of The Better Angels Society: Jeannie and Jonathan Lavine; Jan and Rick Cohen; Allan and Shelley Holt; the Koret Foundation; David and Susan Kreisman; Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder; Blavatnik Family Foundation; Crown Family Philanthropies, honoring the Crown and Goodman Families; the Fullerton Family Charitable Fund; Dr. Georgette Bennett and Dr. Leonard Polonsky; The Russell Berrie Foundation; Diane and Hal Brierley; John and Catherine Debs; and Leah Joy Zell and the Joy Foundation. Funding was also provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and by public television viewers.
About Arkansas PBS
Arkansas PBS, Arkansas’s only statewide public media network, empowers learners of all ages by educating, informing, entertaining and inspiring communities. Arkansas PBS serves as a daily and essential resource for Arkansans by creating, sharing, celebrating and driving conversation around Arkansas stories and classic, trusted PBS programs through multiple digital platforms, including livestreaming at myarpbs.org/watch, on-demand services and YouTube TV, and the distinct channels Arkansas PBS, Arkansas PBS Create, Arkansas PBS KIDS, Arkansas PBS WORLD and Arkansas PBS AIRS on SAP. Members with Arkansas PBS Passport have extended on-demand access to a rich library of public television programming. Arkansas PBS depends on the generosity of Arkansans and the State of Arkansas to continue offering quality programming. Additional information is available at myarkansaspbs.org. Arkansas PBS is broadcast on KETS (Little Rock), KEMV (Mountain View), KETG (Arkadelphia), KAFT (Fayetteville), KTEJ (Jonesboro), KETZ (El Dorado), KETS (Lee Mountain), KETS (Forrest City) and KETS (Gaither).