The Impact of the Holocaust: film & speakers

March 11, 2014 - 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

FILM: Knowledge or Certainty (1973, Jacob Bronowski, 50 min)

In 1973 the BBC broadcast an 11-part documentary on cultural evolution written and hosted by Polish-born mathematician and poet Jacob Bronowski. Its title, The Ascent of Man, played on the title of Darwin’s 1871 book on natural evolution. In this episode, Bronowski suggests that toleration of uncertainty is necessary in pursuing knowledge. He argues that insisting on certainty is what allowed for the Holocaust and other genocides. The series was released on DVD in 2007.Here, Simon Critchely discusses this episode in the NYT (

Watch a clip from this segment:

SPEAKERS: Barrie Gewanter and Ute Ritz-Deutch
The Impact of Holocaust and Refugee Experience: How Two Human Rights Advocates
Reachedthe Same Place from Different Directions.

After the screening of Bronowski’s “Knowledge & Certainty”, we’re adding speakers Barrie Gewanter and her friend and ally Ute Ritz-Deutch. They will join us in a public conversation about the similarities and contrasts in their family’s refugee histories, and how they both reacted to the realities of the Holocaust by heading on a path towards human rights work; Ute from a Christian childhood in Germany and Barrie from an American childhood with her Jewish European Grandparents.

Dr. Ute Ritz-Deutch is a professor of history who teaches courses in history and human rights at SUNY Cortland.  She is an advocate for immigration reform and immigrant’s rights, and is an active member of the Tompkins County Immigrants Rights Coalition.   She is the co-host of the Human Rights & Social Justice Radio Program on WRFI Community Radio in Ithaca.  Ute is the Coordinator of the Ithaca Chapter of Amnesty International, a member of Amnesty’s Northeast Regional Planning Group, and the faculty advisor for the SUNY Cortland Amnesty student group.  In April 2013, she accepted the Hironaka Award for human rights activism on behalf of the Ithaca Chapter (AI Group 73) at the annual general meeting of Amnesty International USA in Washington, D.C.   Ute’s résumé includes Teaching, Public Speaking, Research, Writing, Ethno-History, Immigration Studies, Human Rights, Immigrant Rights, Indigenous Rights.  Ute was born and raised in Germany but has spent most of her adult life in the United States and now resides in Ithaca.  She earned her Masters and Doctoral Degrees from SUNY Binghamton.

Barrie Gewanter is the Director of the CNY Chapter of the New York Liberties Union. Ms. Gewanter has pursued advocacy for women’s rights, gay and lesbian and transgender rights, voting rights, the rights of people with disabilities, workplace health and safety, solidarity with workers and unions, economic justice, civil rights and civil liberties.  During her time with the ACLU she has developed particular expertise in legal principles and precedents related to students’ rights, free speech and protest rights, voting rights, NY State election law and procedures, law enforcement policies and procedures, as well as the 4th Amendment implications of the “so-called” Patriot Act. In 2003, Gewanter’s work on the Living Wage Campaign and other social justice issues led the Human Rights Commission of Syracuse and Onondaga County to give her an award for her individual contributions to human rights.  In October 2004, Peace Action of Central New York also gave Ms. Gewanter a Peacemaker Award, its first such award for “making peace by advocating for civil liberties.”  In May 2008, she was particularly honored to be presented a Community Service Award from the Syracuse/Onondaga County Branch of NAACP.

Free to the Public