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Ferris State University's Shoah Visual History Project, Festival of the Arts to host Feb. 12 screening of 'Schindler's List'

Steven Spielberg’s film “Schindler’s List” tells a powerful story that remains as important in 2024 as it was when it was released in 1993.

Ferris State University’s Shoah Visual History Project, in conjunction with the Big Rapids Festival of the Arts, is hosting a screening of the Academy Award-winning film at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 12, in Room 202B of the David L. Eisler Center.

Based on a true story, “Schindler’s List” features Oskar Schindler, an industrialist and Nazi Party member, who helped save more than 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust by providing them jobs in his factories.

Tracy Busch, a history professor in Ferris State’s College of Arts, Sciences and Education, sees this anniversary of the film’s original release as an appropriate time to host a screening in Big Rapids.

“On its 30th anniversary of the 1993 release of Schindler’s List, we take heart in remembering that acts of resistance, even within the Nazi system, could save lives,” said Busch, who is in first year as director of the Ferris Shoah Visual History Archive Project. “It reminds us that our daily efforts to fight injustice are a part of a larger battle that will have historical significance.” 

The generosity of Detroit-area businessman and real estate developer Mickey Shapiro, the child of Holocaust survivors, helped Ferris State acquire access to the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive in 2017.

At the time of the acquisition, Ferris State was only the third institution in Michigan, joining the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, and 53rd in the world to have access to a fully streaming video collection of more than 54,000 primary source testimonies of survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust and other crimes against humanity. 

The USC Shoah Foundation VHA is housed in the Ferris Library for Information, Technology and Education. 

The Shoah Foundation, founded by Steven Spielberg, includes the Institute for Visual History and Education. Shapiro, A 2017 Ferris State Honorary Doctorate Recipient, is a member of the institute’s board of councilors. 

The collaboration to bring this unique educational resource to Ferris State benefits the campus and local community. 

“It is also noteworthy that the stories told in the making of Schindler’s List became the foundation for the Shoah Visual Learning Archive,” Busch said. “This archive has been put to use in a number of classrooms, including Criminal Justice, Architecture, History, Social Work, Sociology, and Business. The Shoah Archive has since expanded beyond its Holocaust beginnings to include survivor testimonies from other genocides, including Armenia, Rwanda, Guatemala and Nanjing.” 

Parking is free behind the David L. Eisler Center, 805 Campus Drive in Big Rapids. 

Anyone with a disability who needs accommodation to attend this event should contact Tracy Busch at (231) 591-5846 or by email at TracyBusch@ferris.edu.

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