Digital series dedicated to International Holocaust Remembrance Day | News


Arkansas PBS released a new digital series, Arkansas and the Holocaust, to celebrate International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27th. The series is available on demand at

The digital series is produced in conjunction with Ken Burns, Lynn Novick and Sarah Botstein’s The United States and the Holocaust, which explores America’s response to the Holocaust, one of humanity’s darkest eras, in a detailed and forceful way. Inspired by the film, Arkansas PBS reached out to experts and activists in the state to discuss how the Holocaust influenced and was influenced by local Arkansas history, and how this chapter of history is being taught in schools across the state.

Arkansas and the Holocaust consists of the following parts:

“Conversations in Arkansas about ‘the US and the Holocaust'”. Arkansasans answer questions related to “The US and the Holocaust”. Among those interviewed are Cary Banton, Ph.D. (University of Arkansas, Director of African American Studies); Kevin Simpson, Ph.D. (Professor of Psychology at John Brown University, teaches psychology and the Holocaust); Ricky Maines (high school history teacher who wrote the Holocaust studies curriculum for Arkansas public schools); Steve Ronnel (Holocaust education activist and member of the Arkansas Jewish community).

“Cary A. Banton, Ph.D. – Talking about “USA and the Holocaust”. – How did the Holocaust and the history of African Americans intersect? Director of African and African American Studies at the University of Arkansas, Carey Bunton, Ph.D., explores the topic and discusses the “…very interesting, direct, and deliberate ways…” that the Nazis carried out in the US regarding Jim Crow laws and America’s relationship with the natives.

“Kevin E. Simpson, Ph.D. – Talking about “USA and the Holocaust”. Dr. Simpson has long been interested in the psychology of history and teaches psychology and the history of the Holocaust. He sits down on Arkansas PBS to talk about the complex history presented in the US and the Holocaust and the importance of preserving that history. Simpson is also the author of Swastika Football: A Beautiful Game During the Holocaust, a unique, often untold piece of history mixed with a bit of psychology.

“Doctor. Terrence Roberts – Talking about “USA and the Holocaust”. – Dr. Terrence Roberts, one of the members of the Little Rock Nine, sat down on Arkansas PBS to discuss why he decided to join a group of black students who had integrated the racially segregated Central High School. Roberts’ experience as a young man, who had many questions about the unequal treatment of African Americans, led him to study his father’s experiences in the Navy prior to World War II, the treatment of African American soldiers during service, and the Double V campaign. He also shares his thoughts on the history of the Holocaust, Nazi exploration of the Jim Crow South, and Nazi interest in how the United States codified the separation of black and white citizens.

“Ricky Maines – Talking about the US and the Holocaust”. Arkansas native Ricky Maines has a passion for teaching history. For many years he taught at his alma mater, Bentonville High School, and now teaches at Bryant High School. Listen as Manes talks about his journey from a young student with no interest in history to a teacher who brings history to life. He also discusses the Holocaust and was recently asked to work with the Arkansas Department of Education to develop a new Holocaust education program for students in grades 5-12 in all public schools.

“Steve Ronnel – Talking about ‘USA and the Holocaust'”. Steve Ronnel is an Arkansas native and a proud member of the Arkansas Jewish community. In this interview, he shares his personal experience of anti-Semitism and details the alarming rise in anti-Semitism and hate speech in Arkansas. This realization prompted Steve and his son David to join the growing number of Arkansans who have officially worked to teach the Holocaust in public schools by supporting the Mandating the Teach of the Holocaust in All Public Schools Act, which was formerly Gov. Asa Hutchinson in eventually signed into law on April 8, 2021. Hear Steve’s story of working with his teenage son to find other like-minded educational and community, business, and religious leaders who collaborated to pass the law that made Arkansas the first state in the region. make the study of the Holocaust mandatory statewide in public schools.

“Discussion of the PBS Arkansas Preview of ‘The US and the Holocaust’.” – This entry from the free public forum on the US and the Holocaust documentary, presented in partnership with the University of Arkansas Libraries and the Fayetteville Public Library, focuses on how modern people can learn from the past. Italian Language Professor Ryan Calabratta-Sider, Ph.D. – with University of Arkansas Director of African and African American Studies Carrie Banton, Ph.D., University of Arkansas Director of Jewish Studies Jennifer Hoyer, Ph.D., University of Arkansas History Professor Richard Sonn, Ph.D., and doctoral student Toby Klein’s University of Arkansas Public Policy raises issues raised in the documentary that remain important to society today.

“German POWs in Arkansas”. – Made by students at the Delta School in Wilson, Arkansas. Erwin Rommel was a German general who led Axis soldiers during World War II. His troops were stationed in Africa, and in May 1942 he surrendered to the British allied forces. From 1942 to 1949, German prisoners of war were brought to the United States of America and placed in 700 camps throughout the country. On any given day, there were about 2,500 POWs in Mississippi County, Arkansas, working and relaxing. German POWs in Arkansas was entered into the PBS Arkansas Student Film Competition and was runner-up in the 2017 Arkansas Historic Sites Student Film Competition.

The US and the Holocaust documentary is available free of charge on demand through February 3 at

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