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Refuge: Stories of the Selfhelp Home - Ethan Bensinger

Refuge: Stories of the Selfhelp Home

Filmmaker: Ethan Bensinger
Status: Screening

In the late 1930s, a determined group of German Jewish refugees left behind well-established lives and most of their possessions in Hitler’s Germany to find safe haven in Chicago. Here, these newcomers set out to create a vibrant and supportive community for themselves and others fleeing Nazi persecution, eventually establishing the Selfhelp Home for elderly refugees. Refuge: Stories of the Selfhelp Home tells the story of this singular place that for generations has brought over 1,000 Holocaust survivors and refugees together under one roof.

Through interviews with Selfhelp’s residents and founders, some of the last eyewitnesses to this period in history, Refuge moves back and forth seamlessly between their stories — before, during and after World War II — to show how one small community came together, through prescience and pooled resources, to care for its oldest generation.