Internationally Renowned Historian Daniel Jonah Goldhagen Presents His Film Worse Than War at Lehman

May 8, 2013 10:46 am Anthropology Dept, Center for Human Rights and Peace Studies

David Jonah Goldhagen

Worse than War, a PBS documentary on the nature of genocide, will screen at the Leonard Lief library on May 9 at 11 a.m., to be followed by a discussion with writer and filmmaker Daniel Jonah Goldhagen. The screening, presented by Lehman College’s Center for Human Rights & Peace Studies, is free and open to the public.

Worse than War follows Daniel Goldhagen as he travels to Rwanda, Kenya, Guatemala, Germany, Bosnia, the United States, and Ukraine to meet victims and perpetrators of genocide as well as historians and witnesses. The documentary also analyses what kind of efforts can world leaders implement to prevent future genocides.

The documentary, directed by the award-winning Mike DeWitt, was adapted from Goldhagen’s book, Worse Than War: Genocide, Eliminationism, and the Ongoing Assault on Humanity, which explores the phenomenon of genocide around the world.

“Going to the places that I had often researched and talked about was profoundly moving and disturbing,” Goldhagen said. “Sitting across from people who had suffered incalculable degrees of pain and loss is something which is both humbling and thought-provoking.”

Before writing about the overall phenomenon of genocide, Goldhagen researched the root causes and different facets of the Holocaust in his 1997 book, Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust. His ideas inspired worldwide debate and convinced him to explore the more contemporary problem of mass murders, a natural offshoot of his early work.

“Having worked for years on that subject, I was used to talking to victims,” he said, “but going from countries to countries, continents to continents, and spending time with victims and perpetrators of genocides extended my personal experience and enriched my work in this film incommensurably.”