'The Last Flight of Petr Ginz' at JCC


“The Last Flight of Petr Ginz,” a documentary that connects the space shuttle Columbia disaster and the Holocaust, is the next film in the Israeli Culture Series, screening Jan. 8 at the Dwares Jewish Community Center in Providence.

A discussion, hosted by the Rhode Island Jewish community shlichah (Israeli emissary), Or Cohen, follows the film. Relatives of Petr Ginz will be in attendance to answer questions.

Petr Ginz was a Czechoslovak boy of partial Jewish background who was deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp during the Holocaust. By 14, he had written five novels and penned a diary about the Nazi occupation of Prague. By 16, he had produced more than 170 drawings and paintings, edited an underground magazine in the Theresienstadt Ghetto and written numerous short stories. He died at the age of 16 when he was transferred to Auschwitz concentration camp and gassed upon arrival.

Astronaut Col. Ilan Ramon's mother was an Auschwitz survivor, and his grandfather and other family members perished in Nazi death camps. To commemorate their memory, Col. Ramon carried a copy of Ginz’s drawing, “Moon Landscape,” with him onto the space shuttle Columbia. On Feb. 1, 2003 – what would have been Ginz's 75th birthday — the space shuttle Columbia exploded upon re-entry. The picture was drawn by Ginz during his incarceration in the Theresienstadt ghetto. The original picture is part of the Yad Vashem Museum collection.

"Moon Landscape" connects the dream of one Jewish boy, who is a symbol of the talent lost in the Holocaust, to the journey of one Jewish astronaut, who is a symbol of our revival. 

“The Last Flight of Petr Ginz” will be screened Jan. 8 at 7 p.m. at the JCC, 401 Elmgrove Ave., Providence. There is no cost to attend this film. For more information, contact Or Cohen at ocohen@jewishallianceri.org or 401-421-4111, ext. 121.