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Film: “Refuge: Stories of The Selfhelp Home”
May 4 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
One event on May 4, 2022 at 7:00 pm
One event on May 5, 2022 at 7:00 pm
REFUGE: STORIES OF THE SELFHELP HOME
The history and legacy of The Selfhelp Home is beautifully captured in the film Refuge by Ethan Bensinger. The film reaches back more than 75 years to tell the stories of the founding of the Selfhelp Home and the people that live here. This five-time international award-winning film captures the stories of this last generation of survivors, through revealing interviews with the Home’s residents and founders and with expert commentary from noted historians. Refuge examines the range of experiences before, during and after World War II, and how Chicago’s newly arrived German Jews came together as a community to create a singular place that those fleeing Nazi persecution could call home.
About The Filmmaker- Ethan Bensinger, Director
In 2007, Ethan created an archive of personal interviews for The Selfhelp Home that included 30 residents who had been victims of Nazi persecution. Today, this archive can be found at Selfhelp, the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies in Chicago, and online, courtesy of the Leo Baeck Institute in New York.
That project inspired Ethan to film a one-hour documentary that highlights the diverse experiences of six Selfhelp residents and three of the home’s founders, before, during, and after WWII.
Ethan’s parents and grandparents were forced to flee the Nazi regime in the 1930s for a new life in Palestine. Ethan was born after the State of Israel was founded and then moved with his family to America in 1955. His family’s experience led Ethan to his chosen profession as an immigration lawyer, and for 25 years, he served as the managing director of the Chicago office of a global immigration law firm. Since his retirement from law, Ethan has been involved in volunteer and philanthropic endeavors. With REFUGE, Ethan has turned his love of historical narratives into a new career in filmmaking.