The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories
Tak for alt: survival of a human spirit
Repository: Sirena Films
Collection Description (Extant): TAK FOR ALT tells the story of educator Judy Meisel, a Holocaust survivor whose experiences during World War II inspired a life-long campaign against racism.
Connecting Europe's Holocaust and America's civil rights movement, TAK FOR ALT opens with Meisel recalling news coverage of a 1963 race riot in Philadelphia, sparked by a black family, the Bakers, moving into an all-white neighborhood. For Meisel, the scene was chillingly familiar: "Here I was in the City of Brotherly Love, and it was like Kristallnacht, November 9, 1938. . .and nobody was doing anything about it. So I baked some cookies and went to see the Bakers. . ."
The ensuing film weaves archival material and location footage of Meisel retracing her wartime experiences through Eastern Europe-working slave labor in a Kovno Ghetto boot factory, watching her mother disappear into the Stutthof Concentration Camp gas chamber, crawling across a frozen river after fleeing a death march, passing as a Catholic while working for the Wermacht, and finally escaping to Denmark, 16 years old and weighing forty-seven pounds.
Unlike many Holocaust films that end with Liberation in 1945, TAK FOR ALT contextualizes these wartime events within Judy's continuing work as a civil rights advocate and educator, utilizing her experiences as a means to combat bigotry and racism here in the United States. The film underscores that the Holocaust is not just an historical event or a Jewish issue. Acts of intolerance continue across the world today, impacting people of varying color, religion, political affiliation, and sexual orientation. Through the film, Judy Meisel offers an example that one person can make a difference.
Access Copy Note: A clip is available online at http://www.spike.com/video-clips/lwux5j/tak-for-alt
Collection URL: http://takforalt.net
Digital Status: Partial
Interviewees: Judy Meisel
Rights (CRHP): Contact the repository for more information on rights.
Civil rights movements--Pennsylvania
Civil rights--Religious aspects--Judaism
Discrimination in housing
Women civil rights workers