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‎11 Iyyar 5784 | ‎18/05/2024

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«Surviving Skokie», with Eli Adler

«Surviving Skokie», with Eli Adler

ENGLISH CORNER, CON LINDA JIMÉNEZ – This week’s trivia question: What was the NSPA?

Eli Adler is a professional cinematographer with more than thirty years experience. He is a child of a Holocaust survivor, and has filmed several Holocaust-related films. He was also a prolific contributor to the Shoah Foundation Interview Program.

Adler grew up in Skokie, Illinois, a predominantly Jewish suburb of Chicago, where his family moved from the city in 1959. In the late 1970s, the town made national headlines when Illinois Nazis attempted to organize a march through the town. When local courts prohibited marchers at the proposed Skokie rally from wearing Nazi uniforms or displaying swastikas, the Nazis, arguing that the injunction violated their First Amendment right to free speech, took the case all the way to the US Supreme Court, and won.

Although in the end the march never took place, the events inspired many of the town’s Holocaust survivors to tell their stories, and eventually led to the creation of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Skokie. The dedication of that museum in 2009 and Chicago Tribune journalist Howard Reich’s article Memories of the Skokie That Was inspired Adler, along with Blair Gershkow, to make the documentary film Surviving Skokie.

The film is powerful and intensely personal, telling both the story of Skokie and that of Eli’s father growing up in 1930s Poland and how he survived the Holocaust and rebuilt his life in the United States. Jack Adler later wrote a memoir (Y: A Holocaust Narrative) about his experiences, and now speaks to students and other groups about them. The film also includes the participation of other survivors, and the historical context in which the Skokie incidents took place.

Surviving Skokie has been selected to participate in more than half a dozen film festivals, and has won a number of awards for best documentary.

To contact Eli Adler: