The U.S. and the Holocaust


A three-part documentary directed and produced by Ken Burns, Lynn Novick and Sarah Botstein, explores America’s response to one of the greatest humanitarian crises in history.

The U.S. and the Holocaust features a fascinating array of historical figures that includes Franklin D. Roosevelt, Charles Lindbergh, Dorothy Thompson, Rabbi Stephen Wise, and Henry Ford, as well as Anne Frank and her family, who applied for but failed to obtain visas to the U.S. before they went into hiding. This unexpected aspect of the Franks’ story underscores an American connection to the Holocaust that will be new to many viewers.


Saturdays, January 7 through January 21, from 1pm on ThinkTV16

Part One: The Golden Door (Beginnings – 1938)
Saturday, January 7 at 1pm on ThinkTV16

Reversing a history of open borders, a xenophobic backlash prompts Congress to restrict immigration. Hitler and the Nazis persecute German Jews, forcing many to seek refuge. FDR is concerned by the growing crisis but unable to coordinate a response.

Part Two: Yearning to Breathe Free (1938 – 1942)
Saturday, January 14, at 1pm on ThinkTV16

As World War II begins, Americans are divided over whether to intervene against Nazi Germany. Some individuals and organizations work tirelessly to help refugees escape. Germany invades the USSR and secretly begins the mass murder of European Jews.

Part Three: The Homeless, The Tempest-Tossed (1942 – present)
Saturday, January 21, at 1pm on ThinkTV16

A group of dedicated government officials fights red tape to support rescue operations. As the Allies liberate German camps, the public sees for the first time the sheer scale of the Holocaust and begins to reckon with its reverberations.

THE U.S. AND THE HOLOCAUST is a production of Florentine Films and WETA Washington, D.C. Directed by Ken Burns, Lynn Novick and Sarah Botstein. Telescript by Geoffrey C. Ward. Produced by Sarah Botstein, Lynn Novick, Ken Burns and Mike Welt. Edited by Tricia Reidy, ACE and Charles E. Horton. Co-Producer is Lucas B. Frank. Original music produced by Johnny Gandelsman. Cinematography by Buddy Squires, ASC and Wojciech Staroń, PSC. Narrated by Peter Coyote. Voices include Adam Arkin, Hope Davis, Paul Giamatti, Olivia Gilliatt, Elliott Gould, Murphy Guyer, Werner Herzog, Josh Lucas, Carolyn McCormick, Joe Morton, Liam Neeson, Matthew Rhys, Meryl Streep, Bradley Whitford, and Helena Zengel. The Executive in Charge for WETA is John F. Wilson. Executive Producer is Ken Burns.

Post expires at 10:30am on Monday January 23rd, 2023