SARATOGA SPRINGS– Saratoga Jewish Community Arts, will present the film “In Our Own Hands: The Hidden Story of the Jewish Brigade in World War II,” directed by Chuck Olin, on Sunday, Dec. 16, at 7 p.m. at Temple Sinai, 509 Broadway, Saratoga Springs. A panel discussion and dessert reception will follow.
The 85-minute documentary reviews the activities of The Jewish Infantry Brigade Group, or the Jewish Brigade, a military formation of the British Army composed of Jews from the Palestine Mandate (later the state of Israel), commanded by British-Jewish officers that had served in Europe during World War II. The British, fearful of Jewish rebellion in the Mandate, fought its creation.
The Brigade would fight the Germans in Italy.
At the end of World War II, the Brigade was stationed at the border triangle of Italy, Yugoslavia, and Austria. They searched for Holocaust survivors, provided survivors with aid, and secretly assisted in the survivors’ immigration to the British Mandate of Palestine. The Brigade played a key role in efforts to help Jews escape Europe for Palestine, a role many of its members were to continue after the Brigade disbanded. Among its projects was the education and care of surviving children. In July 1945, the Brigade moved to Belgium and the Netherlands.
“The remnants of Jewish communities, broken physically and emotionally, that the Brigade encountered saw the uniforms with the Magen David insignia and it became something of a symbol of hope,” said Phyllis Wang, coordinator of the Jewish Community Arts.
Reminiscences of the veterans and historical footage of their activities and campaigns are featured. “We came as an angel of life to the Jewish people. Soldiers are supposed to fight, kill, or be killed, and what we did as soldiers, we found dead people, and we helped them go back to life,” said one veteran.
A $5 donation admission is requested. Reservations and information may be obtained by calling 518-584-8730 opt. 2 or www.jewishculturalfestival.org.