The long-awaited film about three generations of Morgenthaus will premiere Friday, May 23 at 9 p.m. on WNET Channel 13. We have had the honor of working with Robert M. Morgenthau for more than three decades in his role as Chairman of the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. In 2009, Melissa Martens Yaverbaum curated the exhibition* about three generation of service in the Morgenthau family and we learned even more about the good works and selfless acts of Henry Morgenthau, Sr., the ambassador to Constantinople and the Ottoman Empire during the Woodrow Wilson presidency and World War I; Henry Morgenthau, Jr., the Secretary of Treasury during the presidency of FDR (spanning the Great Depression and World War II), and Robert M. Morgenthau, a WWII Navy hero, a major Federal crime fighter in JFK’s administration, and NYC’s longest-serving District Attorney.
The film is directed and produced by Max Lewkowicz, written by Sam Roberts of The New York Times and Valerie Thomas, and executive produced by Betsy Gotbaum and Ann Oster. Morgenthau draws from more than 60 original interviews with luminaries such as President Bill Clinton, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Sonia Sotomayor, Henry Feingold, Peter Balakian, Tom Brokaw, and Police Commissioner William Bratton. The story is told through a tapestry of voices whose insights and experiences bring alive the personal traits and quirks of these three public servants, all the while contextualizing their career decisions – both acclaimed and controversial – in the larger changing societal and political backdrop of America’s 20th century.
Set your TiVo, DVR, or other recording contraption to make sure you see Morgenthau. It is a must-see.
*Although the exhibition is closed, you can view the website here.