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Rich Brownstein

Rich Brownstein

Jerusalem, Israel

Rich Brownstein teaches educators worldwide about how to use Holocaust films in the classroom. His background in Hollywood before moving to Israel in 2003 was legendary (to a few people).

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About the author

A Holocaust film expert who is regularly invited to lecture at Yad Vashem's International School, Rich teaches educators worldwide about teaching the Holocaust using film. He also lectured for a decade at Young Judaea Year Course (AJU accredited). Rich has been involved in Hollywood since 1990 when he created The Transcription Company, used by every Hollywood studio and TV network. He worked in production.

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The Holocaust Film Bible

75 Years of Narrative Holocaust Film (1945-2020)

Finally, a must-read book about Holocaust films. Holocaust film expert, Rich Brownstein, who is regularly invited to lecture at Yad Vashem's International School, analyzes 75 years of Holocaust film production, and then recommends and reviews the top 50 of 300 films and television movies

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How are we to understand 75 years of Holocaust film production? How has cinematic (and world) history been altered by the advent of Holocaust films? Can we criticize this emotional branch of filmmaking with objectivity? And, of course, which Holocaust films are best and which are the most overrated?

The Holocaust Film Bible starts by uniquely categorizing 300 titles into major genres: Victim, Righteous Gentile, Survivor and Perpetrator. The list is then analyzed chronologically in four eras: The Post-War Era (1945-1973), which was marked by the first cinematic portrayals of the Holocaust; The Commercial Era (1974-1996), which included the beginning of made-for-television Holocaust films; The Mature Era (1997-2013), which saw the production of one Holocaust film every seven weeks; and The Final Era (2014-present), which produced very few Holocaust films annually, the majority of which were remakes of previous Holocaust films. Other major trends in Holocaust films are discussed, with an emphasis on the major personalities depicted in Holocaust films. This discussion continues with a history of the creative difficulties of Holocaust representations in general, and the challenges of depictions of Auschwitz/Birkenau, specifically. The analysis leads to a comprehensive analysis of Tim Blake Nelson’s The Grey Zone (2001), which ties together all previous discussions. Another chapter is devoted to the pedagogical challenges of teaching the Holocaust, generally, and using Holocaust films in the classroom, specifically. With all these lessons learned, the final one-third of the book is recommendations of the other 50 greatest Holocaust films ever made, including the author's reviews of each recommended film.

As a Holocaust film expert who lectures at the International School of Education at Yad Vashem, the world center for Holocaust studies in Jerusalem, Israel, the author is preeminently qualified to tackle these cinematic questions. The style of prose used in The Holocaust Film Bible is intended to mirror the media that the book describes – narrative filmmaking. Although difficult issues are regularly confronted, the book is neither dryly academic nor morose, but rather is punctuated by an uplifting set of revelations that challenge popular assumptions and unspoken truths.

Sales arguments

  • Holocaust studies is mandated in 11 US States, comprising almost half of the US population.
  • Films and television are at the forefront of modern culture.
  • Although dozens of other Holocaust film books have been written over the past 30 years, no other book comprehensively covers the entire topic.
  • The hundreds of students I have taught are clamoring for this book!

Similar titles

  • Gonshak, Henry. Hollywood and the Holocaust. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015. Arranged chronologically, the volume presents analysis of over twenty-five films across genres, tracing the changing portrayal of the Holocaust on American screens from World War II to the present day. Questions the possibility of historical fidelity in the commercialized medium of Hollywood film.
  • Insdorf, Annette. Indelible Shadows: Film and the Holocaust. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2003. An updated edition of a pioneering study, first published in 1983; provides brief but sensitive readings of individual films (mainly American and Western European) and analyzes theoretical issues surrounding them, including narrative strategies, challenges of representing atrocity, questions of style and genre. Includes an extensive annotated filmography of international Holocaust films, arranged by
  • Kerner, Aaron. Film and the Holocaust: New Perspectives on Dramas, Documentaries, and Experimental Films. New York: Continuum, 2011. Kerner’s volume goes beyond examining the classics and the canon of the Holocaust cinema, and extends its focus to include also naziploitation, experimental, and horror films. The discussion is organized by theme, format, and genre.


The Holocaust Film Bible will be appreciated by film buffs, those interested in the Holocaust and educators.

Advance praise

This book has been recommended for publication by Professor Michael Berenbaum, Professor of Jewish Studies at the American Jewish University, the author and editor of 20 books, the Executive Editor of the Second Edition of the Encyclopaedia Judaica, and Project Director overseeing the creation of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

"It is without hesitation that I recommend Rich Brownstein's comprehensive and thought provoking book on Holocaust film. His insider knowledge of the film industry combined with his experience as a veteran Holocaust educator makes Mr. Brownstein uniquely able to not only recommend Holocaust movies to the general public, but to also advise classroom teachers on the decisions that need to be made and the considerations that need to be addressed when using film as a teaching tool. Additionally, reading his book not only as a Holocaust educator, but as a parent, I now find myself both better informed and motivated to more carefully screen or research any and all movies before allowing my own children to view them. In a world where entertainment reigns supreme, Mr. Brownstein's critical look at movies as a medium for educating the masses is a must-read for any parent and certainly for anyone in the field of education."
--Lori Gerson, Holocaust Educator

"I have had the opportunity to read an advance copy of Rich Brownstein's The Holocaust Film Bible. Anyone seeking a deeper understanding of Holocaust film – whether a teacher of Holocaust history, or simply a curious reader – will benefit from the breadth of Mr. Brownstein’s work. He explores a vast array of topics, ranging from the early history of Holocaust film, to an exploration of Holocaust film production from around the world, to a nuanced explanation of what, in fact, makes a Holocaust film a Holocaust film. Certainly, The Holocaust Film Bible covers the darkest of topics, but Mr. Brownstein, due to his expansive knowledge about, and sensitivity to his subject, has managed to write a book that is not only fascinating and illuminating, but engaging, and even a pleasure to read."
--Karen Askarinam, former lecturer in the Literature Department at American University, Washington, DC

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Imagine, a Charlesbridge imprint logo Imagine, a Charlesbridge imprint

500 copies • Completed manuscript • Looking for children's, history, women's studies, gender studies, multicultural studies, politics, nature and the environment, health, and wellness.
Charlesbridge publishes high-quality books for children, with a goal of creating lifelong readers and lifelong learners. Our books encourage reading and discovery in the classroom, library, and home. We believe that books for children should offer accurate information, promote a positive worldview, and embrace a child's innate sense of wonder and fun. To this end, we continually strive to seek new voices, new visions, and new directions in children's literature.

In 2010 Charlesbridge acquired Imagine Publishing and expanded our children’s picture book list with books that included CD performances by notable personalities such as Peter Yarrow, Judy Collins, Kenny Loggins, and Neil Sedaka. Imagine Publishing also brought Charlesbridge into the adult trade publishing business with an eclectic list of nonfiction titles and cookbooks, as well as a popular list of puzzle books.

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