Liberation Heroes: The Last Eyewitnesses
DISCOVERY TO AIR ‘LIBERATION HEROES: THE LAST EYEWITNESSES’ DOCUMENTARY IN ASSOCIATION WITH USC SHOAH FOUNDATION ON HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY
(LOS ANGELES) - As part of USC Shoah Foundation’s 25th Anniversary commemoration, its Stronger Than Hate Initiative and in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day, Discovery Channel will air the documentary, Liberation Heroes: The Last Eyewitnesses, Wednesday, May 1, at 7pm ET/4pm PT.
In the one-hour documentary, heroic veterans vividly share their World War II liberation experiences in their own words, drawing parallels between the past and the present. By illuminating the powerful stories of these key eyewitnesses, the film shares their cautionary tale of what can happen when insidious hatred remains unchecked.
The film makes use of a unique portion of USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive®, a collection of 55,000 testimonies of survivors and witnesses to the Holocaust and other genocidal events. Many of the interviews were recorded since 1994 with the organization established by Steven Spielberg after his experiences filming Schindler’s List.
“Discovery is proud to shine a light on these remarkable stories of heroism, which serve as a solemn reminder for audiences everywhere to never forget,” said David Zaslav, CEO, Discovery. “Liberation Heroes: The Last Eyewitnesses is a call to action to stand against hate in all forms. These stories remind us of what can happen when religious, racial and ethnic hatred is unbridled.”
Stephen D. Smith, Finci-Viterbi Executive Director of USC Shoah Foundation and Executive Producer of the documentary said, “Our work with Discovery Communications and their team at Discovery Education for more than five years around our educational programming has touched more than half a billion people worldwide. It is an honor to continue our efforts with Discovery to share the stories of the witnesses to history and deliver our Stronger Than Hate message to future generations.”
The film is made possible with the generous support of Mickey Shapiro, a longtime Executive Board member of the USC Shoah Foundation along with Board Member Ceci Chan.
The documentary is directed by award-winning filmmaker Vanessa Roth, whose work has been honored with an Oscar®, a special Emmy® Award for social impact, and the Alfred I DuPont-Columbia Award, among others. Produced by veteran Emmy-nominated TV and news producer and executive Andy Friendly, and Produced by June Beallor, a Founding Executive Director of USC Shoah Foundation, whose films have garnered numerous awards including an Oscar®, numerous Emmys® and the George Foster Peabody Award.
“The mission of the documentary is not only a celebration and remembrance of the last heroic eyewitnesses to one of mankind’s darkest moments, but it is also their enduring final plea and message to never stand idly by – and in the face of the dramatic rise of intolerance around the world, this message is more relevant than ever,” Friendly said.
Andy’s late father, Fred Friendly, was a celebrated broadcast journalist and former President of CBS News, as well as Edward R. Murrow’s partner. The late Friendly wrote about the horrors he experienced at Mauthausen while covering the war as a Master Sergeant in the Army. Fred Friendly’s historic “Mauthausen Letter” to his family and Murrow’s rarely heard radio report from Buchenwald are included in the documentary.
Liberation Heroes: The Last Eyewitnesses is presented by June Beallor Productions and Andy Friendly Productions in association with USC Shoah Foundation for Discovery Channel. The film is Directed by Vanessa Roth and Executive Produced by Mickey Shapiro, Ceci Chan, Stephen D. Smith, and Andi Gitow.
About Discovery Channel
Discovery Channel is dedicated to creating the highest quality non-fiction content that informs and entertains its consumers about the world in all its wonder, diversity and amazement. The network, which is distributed to 100.8 million U.S. homes, can be seen in 224 countries and territories, offering a signature mix of compelling, high-end production values and vivid cinematography across genres including, science and technology, exploration, adventure, history and in-depth, behind-the-scenes glimpses at the people, places and organizations that shape and share our world. For more information please visit www.discovery.com.
Discovery, Inc. (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) is a global leader in real life entertainment, serving a passionate audience of super fans around the world with content that inspires, informs and entertains. Discovery delivers over 8,000 hours of original programming each year and has category leadership across deeply loved content genres around the world. Available in 220 countries and territories and 50 languages, Discovery is a platform innovator, reaching viewers on all screens, including TV Everywhere products such as the GO portfolio of apps and Discovery Kids Play; direct-to-consumer streaming services such as Eurosport Player and Motor Trend On Demand; and digital-first and social content from Group Nine Media. Discovery’s portfolio of premium brands includes Discovery Channel, HGTV, Food Network, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Travel Channel, Turbo/Velocity, Animal Planet, and Science Channel, as well as OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network in the U.S., Discovery Kids in Latin America, and Eurosport, the leading provider of locally relevant, premium sports and Home of the Olympic Games across Europe. For more information, please visit www.corporate.discovery.com and follow @DiscoveryIncTV across social platforms.
About USC Shoah Foundation
USC Shoah Foundation — The Institute for Visual History and Education works to develop empathy, understanding and respect through testimony. The Institute builds and delivers groundbreaking, testimony-based programs using its Visual History Archive® of eyewitness testimonies and award-winning IWitness education program, the Center for Advanced Genocide Research, and works with partners globally to counter hateful ideologies. USC Shoah Foundation’s interactive programming, research and materials are accessed in museums and universities, cited by government leaders and NGOs, and taught in classrooms around the world. Now in its third decade, the Institute reaches millions of people each year on six continents from its home at the Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences at the University of Southern California. After completing the film Schindler’s List in 1994, Steven Spielberg established the Shoah Foundation to collect and preserve video testimonies of survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust. He envisioned that these eyewitness accounts would have a profound effect on education and that the survivors would become teachers of humanity for generations to come.
The Institute’s Visual History Archive®, the largest of its kind in the world, now also includes testimonies from the genocides in Armenia, Cambodia, Guatemala and Rwanda, the Nanjing Massacre in China, and, more recently, violence in South Sudan and the Central African Republic, current antisemitic violence, and the genocide against the Rohingya in Myanmar. For more information about USC Shoah Foundation, please go to sfi.usc.edu.
About STRONGER THAN HATE
STRONGER THAN HATE leverages USC Shoah Foundation’s more than two decades as a world leader in the field of testimony-based education and research by scaling the Institute’s proven models to address the rising crises of hatred in America and abroad. The Stronger Than Hate initiative serves as a proactive, actionable response to intervene in the cycle of hatred and violence. Programs reach educators, students, policy makers, influencers, and the public via schools, universities, communities, and boardrooms, both virtually and in person around the world. Stronger Than Hate focuses resources and utilizes partnerships to empower and unify people against hate. STRONGER THAN HATE - Engage. Empower. Unify.
Laurie Goldberg, 310-975-1631, Laurie_Goldberg@discovery.com
USC Shoah Foundation
Josh Grossberg, 213-740-6021, Josh.Grossberg@usc.edu
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