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The U.S. and the Holocaust, A film by Ken Burns, Lynn Novick & Sarah Botstein
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The U.S. and the Holocaust is a three-part, six hour series that examines America’s response to one of the greatest humanitarian crises of the twentieth century. Americans consider themselves a “nation of immigrants,” but as the catastrophe of the Holocaust unfolded in Europe, the United States proved unwilling to open its doors to more than a fraction of the hundreds of thousands of desperate people seeking refuge. Through riveting firsthand testimony of witnesses and survivors who as children endured persecution, violence and flight as their families tried to escape Hitler, this series delves deeply into the tragic human consequences of public indifference, bureaucratic red tape and restrictive quota laws in America. Did the nation fail to live up to its ideals? This is a history to be reckoned with. Learn more about the film at

Stream all three episodes now on the PBS Video App or online below.

The U.S. and the Holocaust is a production of Florentine Films and WETA Washington, DC. Local support for the broadcast is provided by St. Louis Kaplan Feldman Holocaust Museum, which is scheduled to reopen November 2, 2022, and St. Louis Jewish Light. 

Episode Guide

The Golden Door (Beginnings - 1938)
Reversing a history of open borders, a xenophobic backlash prompts Congress to restrict immigration.

Yearning to Breathe Free (1938 - 1942)
As the war begins, some Americans work tirelessly to help refugees, while others remain indifferent.

The Homeless, The Tempest-Tossed (1942 - )
As the Allies liberate German camps, the public sees the sheer scale of the Holocaust.


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