Freedom Writer - June 1994 [ref001] Right responds to 'Schindler's List' Great Barrington,
Freedom Writer - June 1994
Right responds to 'Schindler's List'
Great Barrington, Massachusetts -- At a special screening of _Schindler's_
List_ for high school students, anti-abortion radicals handed out
literature about "America's Holocaust." The misguided protestors,
members of Massachusetts Citizens for Life, attempted to exploit the
emotions of students as they exited Steven Spielberg's acclaimed film
about the Holocaust.
To date, the hard right has been almost silent about _Schindler's_
List_. _The_Freedom_Writer_, however, did find references to the film
in the publications of three leading conservative Christian groups.
The Rev. Donald Wildmon is the Methodist minister whose _AFA_Journal_
"documents" how sex and violence on television and in movies leads
to violence in real life. The April 1994 _AFA_Journal_ carried a short
article about _Schindler's_List_ under the headline: "Movie influences
The article in its entirety reads: "A man who recently converted to
Judaism shot a woman in the back during a San Diego showing of the
holocaust [sic] movie _Schindler's_List_. The local prosecutor said
the man was trying to protect Jews. James Kirby, 45, has admitted
pulling the trigger, but claims he did not expect the gun to fire."
Pat Robertson's _Christian_American_, in nine paragraphs, tells the
whole story of Schindler's List so none of its readers need to see
it. "Regrettably," the article concludes, "the erotic nudity, graphic
sex and explicit violence detract from what could have been an important
and a great epic film and will put the movie off-limits to too many
Dr. James Dobson's Focus on the Family ministry publishes a weekly
newsletter by fax called _The_Pastor's_Weekly_Briefing_. Its issue
of March 25, 1994 noted that Spielberg planned to donate some of the
profits from the movie to provide free screenings for high school
The Colorado Springs-based group takes exception to this plan, saying
that the film, "in its present form...features a sex scene showing
frontal nudity, numerous uses of explicit profanity and violence unnecessary
to the plot." It adds, "High schoolers exposed to this movie are likely
to come away with more than just an understanding of the injustices
of World War II." The group urges pastors to call Universal Pictures
and demand a censored version for high school students.
Great Barrington resident Lorna M. Strassler funded special screenings
of _Schindler's_List_ for thousands of Massachusetts high school students.
After one showing, a front-page headline in _The_Berkshire_Eagle_
read: "'Schindler's List' stuns area students into silence."
"These were high school kids being quiet," said senior Marc Samale.
"Big tough football players and even obnoxious kids who make fun of
the teacher. All of their heads were tilted down. It gave me a sense
"I'm just heartsick to think that could have happened to people,"
said Ashleigh Barry, a junior at Pittsfield's Taconic High School.
"I hadn't really thought about the things [the Jews] had to do to
survive, how they hid in toilets and sewers. I'd never gotten that
A classmate, Ryan Keegan, said, "I knew the Jews were treated cruelly,
but the film showed just how cruel it really was. How if they didn't
like you, bam, you were dead."
One teen, Lauren Cawse, won the gold medal at the state Academic Decathlon
for her extemporaneous talk on _Schindler's_List_. In a follow-up
article she penned for _The_Berkshire_Eagle_, Cawse said of the three-hour-plus
movie, "Every moment is vital."
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