Harbor from the Holocaust

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September 3, 2020
7:00pm Eastern Time
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Be among the first to preview this documentary produced by WQED for PBS. It shares the story of nearly 20,000 Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe during WWII to the port city of Shanghai. You'll hear their extraordinary recollections and unique relationship with their adopted city.

This preview will be followed by a panel discussion with Pittsburghers with ties to this poignant story. Rivaling all elements and in tragic contrast to those who could not escape, this is a Holocaust story of life.

Video Description

Harbor from the Holocaust Preview

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60 minutes


  • Moderator Avatar

  • Co-Moderator Avatar


  • Panelist Avatar
    Jim Cunningham, Panel Moderator


    WQED-FM's Artistic Director, Jim Cunningham hosts the WQED-FM Morning Show weekday mornings from 6-10 am, and the nationally syndicated Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) broadcasts which air Sundays at 8pm. Jim hosted his first radio show at age 13 in Warren, PA, and was station manager of the Thiel College station, where he earned degrees in English and Business Administration. He holds a Certificate from CPB’s Executive Management Institute at the University of Wisconsin. He has enjoyed a long career at WQED-FM, beginning as an intern in college, was station manager for many years, and is currently an award-winning Executive Producer and Artistic Director. Jim hosted the Pittsburgh Speakers Series for 10 years, served as Classical Music Critic for Pittsburgh Magazine for 15 years, has presented pre-concert and outreach lectures for the Pittsburgh Symphony for 25 years, and currently teaches Music and Art for lifelong learners at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. Jim has won multiple Golden Quill awards, the Gabriel Award and been recognized for community service with awards from the Pittsburgh Symphony, Pittsburgh Festival Opera, Pittsburgh Concert Society, Chatham Baroque and many others. Jim has traveled as a correspondent with the PSO on more than 25 world tours to Europe, Asia, North America, South America, and Australia. During his career at WQED-FM, Jim has interviewed everyone in the classical music world from Itzhak Perlman to Leonard Bernstein, but some of his favorite interviews were with Benny Goodman, Wynton Marsalis, Mercer Ellington, and Fred Rogers.

  • Panelist Avatar
    Darryl Ford Williams


    Darryl Ford Williams is the Vice President of Content for WQED Multimedia in Pittsburgh. Ms. Ford Williams oversees the creation, development, production and delivery of all new and existing local, national, international and syndicated television, radio, digital, interactive and educational programming for WQED Multimedia. She led the production of PBS’ American Masters, August Wilson: The Ground On Which I Stand serving as Executive Producer for this highly acclaimed documentary. Under her leadership, productions have taken WQED documentary teams across the country and abroad to Kenya, Poland, Vietnam and Austria. She also launched an informational television station for the Government of Bermuda. Throughout her career, Ms. Ford Williams led content and program development for broadcast groups across the country. Her background as a television news producer and news manager is extensive including roles as managing site producer for CBS News in its coverage of September 11—focusing on the Pennsylvania crash site of United Flight 93; coordinating producer for ABC-TV’s Good Morning America; executive producer at WJLA-TV in Washington, DC; news producer at KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh and WBAL in Baltimore. Ms. Ford Williams’ work was recognized with many awards, including several Emmy Awards in addition to numerous Emmy nominations. Her work has earned her a nomination for an NAACP Image Award; she has been honored by the Easter Seals Society, International Association of Business Communicators, and has won multiple awards from Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters. Ms. Ford Williams has served on many boards including the External Advisory Board for the University of Pittsburgh Clinical & Translational Science Institute; Point Park University; the National Black Programming Consortium; the Pittsburgh Film Office and the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. A graduate of Boston College, Ms. Ford Williams is married to the Honorable Joseph K. Williams, III, a judge on the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas.

  • Panelist Avatar
    Iris Samson


    Iris Samson biography “Harbor from the Holocaust” co-producer Iris Samson is a graduate of the University of Maryland College of Journalism, with a minor in Jewish Studies. For almost 18 years, Samson was the assistant editor of The Jewish Chronicle of Pittsburgh, a weekly newspaper. She began her freelance career at WQED-TV in 2005, after serving as an associate producer on “From Pittsburgh To Poland: Lessons of the Holocaust.” Since then, she has produced dozens of short pieces, and over a dozen half hour programs, in-cluding “Stories of the Holocaust,” which focused on three Holocaust survivors living in the Pitts-burgh area. This was an excerpt from a two DVD set that she produced for the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh of 18 interviews with different Holocaust survivors and their families. Some of her other WQED productions include an hour-long historical program, “The Valley that Changed the World,” on the birth of the oil industry; “Vietnam, Another View,” which explored the Vietnamese community in Pittsburgh and Samson is currently working on a program on the air quality issues in the region for the fall. Samson holds three Mid-Atlantic Emmys, and has been nominated a dozen times; additionally she won nine Golden Quill Awards, including one for “Sto-ries of the Holocaust”; and two PAB (Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters) best documen-tary awards for “Visiting Volant” and “A Beacon for Change.” Iris Samson’s husband’s mother was a Holocaust survivor, hidden as a child in Poland by a brave neighbor. Four members of his family also fled to Shanghai to escape the Nazis, including three uncles who were studying in the famed Mir Yeshiva, and an aunt.

  • Panelist Avatar
    Ilana Diamond


    Ilana Diamond is a Managing Director at Innovation Works (IW), one of the most active early stage investors in US based technology companies, where she leads a team that helps companies prepare to grow and scale their businesses. When she’s not working directly with companies, Ilana is involved in community events or helping launch initiatives to put Pittsburgh on the world startup map. Ilana has served in leadership roles of early stage companies and not-for-profit organizations, including as CEO of Sima Products Corporation and as a director on the boards of the International Consumer Technology Association, the Pittsburgh Technology Council and the Carnegie Libraries of Pittsburgh. She holds a B.A. in Biological Sciences and Economics from Northwestern University and an M.B.A. from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Ilana Diamond is the great niece of Lucie Hartwich, whose story is included in the documentary. Hartwich served as the Principal of the Shanghai Jewish Youth Association School established by Horace Kadoorie to educate the children of Jewish refugees in Shanghai. The school was vital to preserving Jewish religious and traditional practices and languages, especially Hebrew.

  • Panelist Avatar
    Dr. Michele Ferrier


    Dr. Michele Ferrier is a consulting producer and advisor for Harbor From The Holocaust. Dr. Ferrier is the director and founder of the University of Pittsburgh’s Confucius Institute (CI-Pitt) and has been a member of the Asian Studies Center at the University of Pittsburgh since 1998. Under her guidance the Confucius Institute at Pitt has received a number of awards including Confucius Institute of the Year (2008, 2010, 2013, 2015) and Outstanding Individual Achievement Awards (2011, 2012) from the Chinese Ministry of Education in Beijing. Before overseeing the Confucius Institute, Dr. Ferrier was responsible for corporate, public, and external educational projects for Asian Studies as Assistant Director and Project Manager and developed two web- and CD-ROM curriculum projects for post-secondary education. The first, Contemporary Chinese Societies: Continuity and Change (Columbia University Press, 2001 and second edition, 2006) won the Franklin M. Buchanan Prize for outstanding curriculum development from the Association for Asian Studies. The second, Japan: Places, Images, Times and Transformations, was released in June of 2016. In 2005, Dr. Ferrier co-directed and participated in a six-week Fulbright-Hayes field study to Mongolia with 12 university faculty members from around the United States. The result of that endeavor was the Contemporary Mongolia Project (www.pitt.edu/mongolia ) co-sponsored with the University of Pittsburgh’s Honors College and the Asian Studies Center. In addition to an M.A. in East Asian Studies with a special concentration in anthropology, and a graduate-level teaching certification, Dr. Ferrier received her Ph.D. in Social and Comparative Analysis of Education at the University of Pittsburgh with a focus on multidisciplinary international partnerships. Her scholarly interests are in higher education in China and the United States, and feminist studies on the intersection of women, society, collectives, and leadership.

  • Panelist Avatar
    Bettie Peiwen (Ho) Carlson


    Bettie (Ho) Carlson is the granddaughter of Dr. Feng Shan Ho, known as the Chinese Schindler. While serving as the Chinese consul general in Vienna, Austria, Dr. Ho helped thousands of Austrian Jews escape Nazi persecution during World War II by issuing them Chinese visas. Although any visa was a means to leave Nazi occupied territory, many of these refugees did ultimately go to Shanghai, China – an open port. A man of moral conviction, Dr. Ho recognized the danger to the Jewish population lining the streets surrounding all of the consulates. He began issuing entry visas, several hundred every month, well in excess of government mandated quotas, and clearly to the embarrassment of the Chinese embassy. Eventually Dr. Ho was removed from his post. He was disciplined by his superiors and reassigned. Dr. Ho’s deeds were only discovered after he passed in 1997 after when survivors came forward and began telling their stories. He was posthumously awarded the Righteous Among the Nations Award in 2001 by the Yad Vashem in Israel after meeting a rigid number of parameters; among which are that: • A specific number of people were saved • The rescue(s) were accomplished with no benefit or gifts to self or family • Rescues were at great risk to self/ family • Individuals rescued were people other than those known only to self/family; that is to say, total strangers • Suffered retribution as a result of rescue action Like her grandfather before her, Mrs. Carlson does not seek to speak about her Grandfather’s legacy. Like him, she believes that his deeds speak for themselves; that each life he saved well-lived is his legacy. She has spent her career as an educator, translator and editor, including a stint at the Pittsburgh Holocaust Center; and most recently as Director of Customer and International Relations for Innovation Advising LLC.

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The views and opinions expressed in this online screening are those of the presenters and participants, and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of ITVS, public broadcasting, or any entities hosting the screening.