Monday, June 30, 2014

Rudolf Kasztner: Hero or Villain?

1944 was a monumental year in Hungarian history;you have probably noticed a number of 70th anniversary commemorations this year. The efforts of one man in particular stand out. Rudolf Kasztner was a Hungarian Jew who negotiated with Adolf Eichmann to bring more than 1,6000 Hungarian Jews to safety by putting them on a train to Switzerland. It came to be known as Kasztner’s Train. Some viewed him as a hero; others as a traitor. After he moved to Israel, he was tried and convicted as “The Man who Sold His Soul to the Devil.” He was assassinated in 1957.

Director/Producer/Writer Gaylen Ross made a documentary about Kasztner in 2008. It is a documentary full of intrigue that illustrates that the line between hero and villain is often blurred. There are interviews with family and foe alike, including conversations with the assassin who broke his silence and revealed the plot that resulted in his killing Kasztner.

On June 30, this 2 DVD set will be available to the public on and the Killing Kasztner website. If you purchase the DVD on the Killing Kasztner website, and use code MJH, you will receive a 15% discount. There are more than three hours of bonus features including interviews with Kasztner survivors, and other key players who figure prominently in the story.

Learn much more about Kasztner and the film on the movie website

Monday, June 23, 2014

Close Encounters of the Spielberg Kind: A Free Summer Film Series Launches This Week

This blog comes to us from Gabriel Sanders, who loves a good summer film.

It probably goes without saying that Steven Spielberg is one of the greatest filmmakers of our time — or all time. But even Spielberg’s biggest fans can lose sight of just how long and varied his career has been. Our free film series, held in the beautiful and air-conditioned Edmond J. Safra Theater, is designed to help drive this point home.

We'll kick things off with Harrison Ford’s first turn as the swashbuckling archaeologist Indiana Jones, in the 1981 blockbuster Raiders of the Lost Ark (June 25). Set in 1936, the film follows Indy as he tries to track down the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis do.

From there, we move forward eight years to 1944, the Normandy landings, and Saving Private Ryan (July 2). After opening with what is considered one of the greatest battle scenes in cinema history, the film follows a group of U.S. soldiers behind enemy lines to retrieve a stranded paratrooper.

We’ll then time travel from World War II history to the realm of prehistory and the dinosaurs of Spielberg’s 1993 sci-fi thriller Jurassic Park (July 9). On July 16, we turn to the historical drama Amistad, the story of a slave-ship mutiny that became a Supreme Court case and key moment in the fight for abolition.

We then look to the stars and the UFOs of Close Encounters of the Third Kind (July 23).

As we near the mournful holy day of Tisha B’Av, we’ll screen Spielberg’s Holocaust epic, Schindler’s List (July 30).

During early August, amid the period affectionately known as Shark Week, we’ll screen Jaws (August 6). This screening is co-sponsored by the Young Friends of the Museum.

And finally, to wrap things up, we look back to outer space and head home with E.T. (August 13). Our High School Apprentices are co-sponsors of this film.

Movies will screen at 6:30 P.M. every Wednesday from June 25 through August 13. Fabulous raffle prizes will be given away at each screening.

The Museum’s public programs are made possible through a generous gift from Mrs. Lily Safra.

Image: Copyright Paramount Pictures

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

First Ever Museum Mile Downtown: A Night at the Museums on June 24

Lower Manhattan offers a wide range of rich cultural experiences, and on June 24 from 4:00-8:00 P.M., visitors can discover the best of Lower Manhattan’s cultural landscape for free. Fourteen museums and historic sites, including the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, will be participating in the River to River Festival’s Night at the Museums by offering free admission as well as an array of special programming.

Spend a summer evening immersed in New York City’s history, explore what makes the United States unique, discover new cultures, take a walking tour of the area, and enjoy discounts at local restaurants. All 14 institutions are within comfortable walking distance of one another. Many of the museums will offer special programming, including fun, family-friendly activities for kids, such as a scavenger hunt at the South Street Seaport Museum and creating replicas of famous historic documents at the National Archives.
Participating museums and historic sites include the African Burial Ground National Monument, The Anne Frank Center USA, Federal Hall National Memorial, Fraunces Tavern Museum, Museum of American Finance, Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, National Archives at New York City, National Museum of the American Indian – Smithsonian Institution, National September 11 Memorial Museum, NYC Municipal Archives Visitor Center, 9/11 Tribute Center, The Skyscraper Museum, South Street Seaport Museum, and Wall Street Walks.

The National September 11 Memorial Museum and Wall Street Walks require free advance ticket reservations, and will have a limited number of tickets available for walk-ups. Visit for details.

Pick up a Night at the Museums Passport on June 24 at participating institutions for special offers that are good all summer.

Night at the Museums is part of the 2014 River to River Festival, which features free arts events from June 19 to June 29 throughout Lower Manhattan. Over the course of 11 days, River To River brings 35 unique arts projects together including over 90 different artists. Visitors can discover the vibrancy of Lower Manhattan through a wide breadth of dance performances, live music, theater, writing classes, and more.
Learn more about Night at the Museums by visiting