More than 300 people recently gathered at the Gold Coast Cinema at LIU-Post for UJA-Federation of New York’s Long Island screening of Debbie Goodstein’s Holocaust sequel film, Echoes from the Attic. Goodstein’s first film, Voices from the Attic, which explored her family’s history during the Holocaust, was made in 1988 and was short-listed for an Academy Award. Goodstein, a former resident of Port Washington who currently resides in Brooklyn, returned to Poland two decades later to make the follow-up film, which was completed in 2015 and debuted last year on a three-city tour in Germany at the invitation of Arsenal Films in association with The Berlin Film Festival.
Echoes from the Attic brings to life Goodstein’s journey with her family back to Poland in 2013, and their visit with the Polish family who rescued them by hiding them in their attic during the Nazi occupation. Twenty-seven members of Goodstein’s family—survivors and descendants, second and third generations—reunited with the rescuers’ family in Poland after the status of Righteous Among the Nations was granted posthumously to the rescuer, Stanislaw Grocholski. Yad Vashem, The World Holocaust Remembrance Center, awards the honorific Righteous Among the Nations to non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust. The distinction is granted according to stringent criteria requiring conclusive evidence.
“I am delighted that I was able to collaborate with UJA to premiere my sequel Holocaust film on Long Island and I appreciate the community support that they garnered,” said Goodstein, CEO of Aurora Pictures Corporation. “This film honors the culmination of my Aunt Sally’s 40-year struggle to gain Righteous Among the Nations status for my family’s savior, Stanislaw Grocholski. I made this movie as a tribute not only for my own family but also for this family who did the right thing during very difficult times. It is critical to highlight this Polish family who followed the path of the righteous despite great personal risk and a hefty price for their good deeds.”
Following the film’s screening, a panel discussion was held with Goodstein and her family, including two of Goodstein’s aunts who were hidden in the attic during the Holocaust, along with Goodstein’s son, Noah Rosenblatt, who was also featured in the sequel film.
“I am delighted to see so many generations here tonight as we need to ensure that we continue to honor the memory of so many lost by retelling these stories,” commented Goodstein at the event.
Great Neck resident Stacy Hoffman, chair of UJA-Federation’s Echoes from the Attic event, UJA-Federation of New York’s Long Island Program Services Cabinet and Volunteer Engagement for UJA Women, as well as a member of the Board of Directors, hosted the panel discussion.
“It was an honor to interact on stage with Debbie Goodstein’s family who was able to recount their own life experiences during the Holocaust as well as the impact it had on their families years later,” said Hoffman. “I am grateful to have the opportunity to collaborate with filmmaker, Debbie Goodstein, so that we can share the important messages of her Holocaust films, and support UJA’s efforts to educate the community while raising funds for its Community Initiative for Holocaust Survivor Fund.”
UJA’s Community Initiative for Holocaust Survivor Fund was created to raise money to care for survivors in New York and Israel, and works to secure their comfort, dignity and independence. Since 2004, UJA-Federation, the world’s leading local philanthropy with a reach from New York to Israel to more than 70 other countries around the world, has raised nearly $20 million for this initiative. For many survivors, UJA’s network of nonprofits is a vital source of practical and emotional support as it provides access to services, relief from social isolation and emergency cash.
“I am pleased to work with UJA to share this film with the Long Island community,” added Kings Point resident Marilyn Gessin, chair of UJA-Federation’s event and ambassador for UJA’s Community Initiative for Holocaust Survivors Fund. “Hosting events such as this one allows us to highlight and discuss issues that are of great importance. As the daughter of Holocaust survivors, I understand how critical it is that we continue discussing these difficult topics and raise funds for UJA’s Community Initiative for Holocaust Survivors, which provides an indispensable support network for these heroes.” Other UJA chairs of Echoes from the Attic include Harvey Gessin, Steven Hoffman, Jeff Zaffos and Lori Zaffos.
“We look forward to replicating our success in other U.S. cities,” said Great Neck resident Sherry Horowitz-Harnick, who handles marketing and PR for Aurora Pictures Corporation. “Echoes from the Attic will be screened in Los Angeles on Jan. 19 at Simon Wiesenthal Center, and we plan to bring this film to NYC in the spring.”