2 communities come together to watch film about the Armenian Genocide


PROVIDENCE – In recognition of Armenian Independence Day (Sept. 21), the Sandra Bornstein Holocaust Education Center partnered with The Genocide Education Project to present the film “The Promise” at the Alliance’s Dwares Jewish Community Center on Sept. 23.

Adam Greenman, CEO of the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island, and Judge Edward Newman, president of the Holocaust Education Center, welcomed members of both the Jewish and Armenian communities to the packed Baxt Social Hall for the screening. 

In his comments to the audience of more than 100 people, Greenman complimented the work of both organizations and talked of the importance of the two communities working together, along with other affected communities, to educate people about genocide.

Newman drew parallels to the Armenian Genocide as he touched on his family’s story of surviving the Holocaust. He went on to talk about how important it is that education continues about the devastating consequences of unchecked hate, bigotry and discrimination. Newman specifically mentioned the mandatory Holocaust and genocide curriculum in Rhode Island schools, which both communities worked to achieve. 

“The Promise” is a critically acclaimed film about a love triangle that develops between an Armenian medical student, a Paris-based American journalist, and an Armenian-born woman raised in France amid the horrors of the Armenian Genocide. 

The Ottoman government systematically exterminated 1.5 million Armenians during the genocide, which began in 1915 and continued during and after World War I.

The mass premeditated murders of the Armenians led Polish-Jewish lawyer Raphael Lemkin to coin the word “genocide” in 1943. The Armenian Genocide is acknowledged as the first modern genocide, and it is the second most-studied genocide after the Holocaust.

Most of the audience for the screening were aware of the Armenian Genocide in a general way, but were clearly impacted by the depiction seen on the screen.

After the movie, two members of the Armenian community, Pauline Getzoyan and Esther Kalajian, answered questions and distributed educational materials to educators in attendance. 

LEV POPLOW is a communications consultant who writes on behalf of the Sandra Bornstein Holocaust Education Center, in Providence. He can be reached at levpoplow@gmail.com.