Songwriters Collaborate with Holocaust Survivors for PBS Series

Witness the healing powers of Music and Friendship as Holocaust survivors share their stories with songwriters on 450 PBS Stations. The hour-long documentary will broadcast between April 26-May 24, and then in the fall.

WE REMEMBER: SONGS OF SURVIVORS will premiere the week of Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, on Tuesday, April 26, at 8:00 p.m. ET on PBS, PBS.org and the PBS Video app.

WE REMEMBER: SONGS OF SURVIVORS follows four working singer-songwriters (Michael Veitch, Elizabeth Clark, Kelleigh McKenzie, Jude Roberts) hired by the community arts organization SageArts in New York’s Hudson Valley. Through a program offered by Jewish Family Service of Orange County, they visit local Holocaust survivors to create original songs based on their conversations. The film documents the relationships that develop and the songwriting process over many months, culminating in an emotional live concert where the survivors and songwriters are celebrated by friends, family and the community.

“At a time when the world is faced with the horrors of war and hatred, we wanted to tell this hopeful story of perseverance and love,” said Ilene Cutler, co-producer of WE REMEMBER: SONGS OF SURVIVORS.

In-depth interviews with the survivors — Rita, Tibor, Tommy and Freide — and access to rare personal archives lead to revealing stories, many of which have been deeply buried in their memories for decades. At the same time, the songwriters — Michael, Jude, Kelleigh and Elizabeth — create video diaries to document their own thoughts and feelings about the experience of telling a Holocaust survivor’s story through song.  Michael reflects, "Working with Rita was a life changing experience for me and I know every artist in this project received a similar gift songwriting with their Holocaust survivor."

“Many documentaries exist about the Holocaust. However, few have taken such a unique approach to telling these horrific stories. We wanted to shed light on the devastating experiences of Holocaust survivors while celebrating the possibilities of healing through the power of music,” said Tim Miller, co-producer of WE REMEMBER: SONGS OF SURVIVORS. “Little did we know this film, with its powerful message, would change the lives of both the survivors and songwriters.”

“PBS is honored to shed light on this moving and powerful project, which illuminates the ways in which music can uniquely memorialize these stories of resiliency,” said Zara Frankel, Director of Programming and Development at PBS.

Produced by Tim Miller and Ilene Cutler, WE REMEMBER: SONGS OF SURVIVORS was written and edited by Timothy Guetterman.

WE REMEMBER: SONGS OF SURVIVORS will be available for streaming concurrent with broadcast on all station-branded PBS platforms, including PBS.org and the PBS Video App, available on iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Smart TV, Chromecast and VIZIO. PBS station members can view many series, documentaries and specials via PBS Passport.

Find out about the 3 collaborative concerts used in the documentary that were performed by the musicians and survivors at: sagearts.org/events