The World Was Ours is an award-winning one-hour documentary narrated by the award-winning actor, Mandy Patinkin, that explores the vibrant and creative life of the Jewish community of Vilna (now Vilnius, Lithuania) between the two World Wars. Drawing upon archival photos and footage, excerpts from diaries and letters, and through interviews with survivors and scholars, The World Was Ours evokes the spirit of this rich literary, intellectual and artistic community that helped shape many of the great ideologies of 20th century Jewish life.
Proceeds from the program will benefit the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education.
In 1941, German forces seized Vilna and made it the first urban Jewish community the Nazis set out to exterminate. During the Holocaust, Vilna Jews risked their lives to save precious books and documents marked for destruction by the Nazis. Locked in the ghetto, fully aware of the imminent annihilation, they continued to present concerts, theatre and art exhibitions. By the end of war, 95% of the city’s Jewish population had been murdered.
The film premiered in 2006 at the 9th Annual Film Festival held at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, followed by a New York Premiere at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. The film was shown on WNET Channel 13, Connecticut Public Television (CPTV), nationally on American Public Television for 3 years, as well as at numerous festivals and other venues across the United States and abroad. Producer, Mira Jedwabnik Van Doren, received YIVO Institute’s first Vilna Award for Distinguished Achievement and was honored by the Folksbiene Yiddish Theatre and the film received the Kent Film Festival Outstanding Achievement Award among other accolades.
2006, 60 minutes, Executive Producer Mira Jedwabnik Van Doren.
The film, shown at Northeast Portland's Hollywood Theatre, will be introduced by Natan Meir, Lorry I. Lokey Chair in Judaic Studies at Portland State University.