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Local Filmmaker Gives Talk and Screening of Holocaust Documentary, “Only a Number”

West Windsor, N.J. -- The Mercer County Holocaust-Genocide Resource Center and Congregation Beth Chaim of Princeton Junction will be commemorating Holocaust Remembrance Day with a screening of the documentary “Only a Number” on Wednesday, April 18, at 7 p.m. at the Congregation Beth Chaim, 329 Village Road East, Princeton Junction.

“Only a Number” is the creation of Hamilton resident and filmmaker Steve Besserman.  It is the autobiography of Besserman’s mother, Aranka, a survivor of the Auschwitz death camp.  A powerful narrative, “Only a Number” is as much a love story as it is a Holocaust memoir.  It was in a slave labor camp that Aranka fell in love with Josef, the man who would eventually become her husband.  Using his mother’s diary as his guide, Besserman journeys through the sites of the ghettos, concentration camps, and slave-labor factories, reflecting on his mother’s experiences and how they have impacted him as a second-generation survivor. 

Following the screening, Besserman will take questions from the audience and discuss his experiences making the film.  "If not for the Holocaust, my parents would never have met and I would never have been born, so I have always felt a profound sense of irony about that period in history," he said.

Last year “Only a Number” was recognized as an official selection of the Garden State Film Festival, was named the Best Feature Documentary at the Jersey Shore Film Festival, was an official selection of the Santa Rosa Film Festival, and was nominated for Best Documentary at the Orlando Film Festival. 

A special edition of “Only a Number” accompanied by a study guide has been recommended by the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education to middle and high schools for use in the curriculum with students in grades 7-12.  DVDs will be made available for purchase after the program. 

The event is free and open to the public.  For directions, visit Beth Chaim’s website here.  For more information on the Holocaust-Genocide Resource Center, located at Mercer County Community College’s West Windsor campus, click here.

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