Archive for November, 2018

It’s time for the big news.



I’ve been working for nearly three years with a highly respected film producer for what we are confident will become the PBS film version of the Train Near Magdeburg story. It is very important for both Mike Edwards of the 5 Stones Group and I that the story be told correctly and respectfully.

Mike’s first feature documentary, Searching For Augusta, followed historian Martin King as he unraveled the mystery of a young Belgian nurse who saved soldiers in the critical period of the siege of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge, finding Augusta Chiwy shortly before her death. With the critical success of the film, the Augusta Chiwy Foundation was set up to support similar projects to cultivate humanity and stand as a testament to the human spirit.

The pre-production trailer of ‘Train’ has been field tested for almost 6 months and is now ready to show the world to drum up interest in supporting this incredibly timely and important endeavor. It’s been made tragically clear that the support for Holocaust education and the cultivation of decent human beings can’t be allowed to stop, or even idle.

Because there is enough hate in the world, and this is a story with so much power. It’s the power of love transcending the hate, eclipsing the barriers of time and space, reverberating right down to this day, across four continents and seven decades.

It’s the story of the Holocaust, the ordeals of the victims and the soldiers fighting their way across Europe. The shock of the discovery of the train and the camps, and what the soldiers did about it, even though they were fighting and dying on their way to the final climactic battle on the Elbe River. There was trauma there, too. Some of my guys also insisted on being referred to as ‘survivors’ of World War II. ‘Hero worship’ of them was emphatically rejected.

It’s also the story of the dedication of a teacher with a singular passion for uncovering the connections to the past and bringing survivors and soldiers together, the magic that ushers forth from the universe when a teacher connects with his students to trip the wires of the cosmos. It’s a message for young people to pay attention to the lessons of the past, because it is in witnessing that one becomes a witness.

Our intent is not to just recount the history, or to lecture you. Rather, we hope that in joining us on this journey, in witnessing the ‘choices’ of the survivors and dilemmas of the soldiers as they unfolded, the moral obligations of the viewer to not stand by in the face of rising evil will coalesce around the example of the abandonment of a persecuted people, and the moral choice of upstanders engaged in combat to do something that maybe, the world should have done from the start.

We hope you can draw your own lessons. On the eve of the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, we present you with our vision for a better world through recounting the story, formerly unknown, of a singular event nearly 75 years ago that continues to ripple across the universe.

Learn the past. Because, to paraphrase William Faulkner, it’s never over. It’s not even past.

Please watch, and be mindful of the Holocaust scholar who said to me, “When you teach to Holocaust, think of the reason why you are teaching this history. What do you want, the world to be?”

What you do matters.

To support our vision and become part of it, click here.


  1. How much monetary sponsorship does the foundation need to raise to complete the production and distribution of “A Train Near Magdeburg”?

– The budget for the documentary film is $500,000.  The costs include pre-production, scripting, producing, direction, principal photography in America, Europe and Israel, editing, music, post-production, visual effects and distribution fees.

  1. How much filming has been done to date?

– We have spent two years so far making connections, doing research and filming initial interviews that have been done with survivors, family members, liberators and medics who were involved in this story.

  1. Where will the documentary film be distributed when it is complete?

– We have an existing relationship and a formal Letter of Interest from American Public Television in the United States.  American Public Television is the leading syndicator of high-quality, top-rated programming to public television stations in America. American Public Television also distributes programming on a worldwide basis through television, online and home video distribution methods. To learn more about APT, please go to https://www.aptonline.org/about/apt.

  1. When will the film be complete once the production funding has been raised?

– The goal would be to complete the film in time to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the liberation of the train and the defeat of Nazi Germany. [APRIL 2020]

  1. Can I donate online?

– Yes.  Donations can be made online at www.AugustaChiwy.org.

  1. Is my financial gift tax-deductible?

– Yes.  Gifts to the Augusta Chiwy Foundation are tax-deductible.  The Augusta Chiwy Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization based in the United States.

  1. Are there corporate sponsorships available?

– Yes.  Corporate sponsorships are available at various giving levels through the Augusta Chiwy Foundation.  Please contact Steven Croft to discuss these options.

  1. How do I find out more information, ask questions and become involved?

– Please contact:

Steven E. Croft, Chairman of the Board

The Augusta Chiwy Foundation


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The better question.

The Jewish nurse who treated the gunman. “The better question is, what does it mean to you?”

Ari Mahler
November 3 via Facebook
I am The Jewish Nurse.

Yes, that Jewish Nurse. The same one that people are talking about in the Pittsburgh shooting that left 11 dead. The trauma nurse in the ER that cared for Robert Bowers who yelled, “Death to all Jews,” as he was wheeled into the hospital. The Jewish nurse who ran into a room to save his life.

To be honest, I’m nervous about sharing this. I just know I feel alone right now, and the irony of the world talking about me doesn’t seem fair without the chance to speak for myself.

When I was a kid, being labeled “The Jewish (anything)”, undoubtedly had derogatory connotations attached to it. That’s why it feels so awkward to me that people suddenly look at it as an endearing term. As an adult, deflecting my religion by saying “I’m not that religious,” makes it easier for people to accept I’m Jewish – especially when I tell them my father is a rabbi. “I’m not that religious,” is like saying, “Don’t worry, I’m not that Jewish, therefore, I’m not so different than you,” and like clockwork, people don’t look at me as awkwardly as they did a few seconds beforehand.

I experienced anti-Semitism a lot as a kid. It’s hard for me to say if it was always a product of genuine hatred, or if kids with their own problems found a reason to single me out from others. Sure, there were a few Jewish kids at my school, but no one else had a father who was a Rabbi. I found drawings on desks of my family being marched into gas chambers, swastikas drawn on my locker, and notes shoved inside of it saying, “Die Jew. Love, Hitler.” It was a different time back then, where bullying was not monitored like it is now. I was weak, too. Rather than tell anyone, I hid behind fear. Telling on the people who did this would only lead to consequences far worse.

Regardless, the fact that this shooting took place doesn’t shock me. To be honest, it’s only a matter of time before the next one happens. History refutes hope that things will change. My heart yearns for change, but today’s climate doesn’t foster nurturing, tolerance, or civility. Even before this shooting took place, there’s no real evidence supporting otherwise. The FBI and the Southern Poverty Law Center note that Jews only account for two percent of the U.S. population, yet 60% of all religious hate crimes are committed against them. I don’t know why people hate us so much, but the underbelly of anti-Semitism seems to be thriving.

So now, here I am, The Jewish Nurse that cared for Robert Bowers. I’ve watched them talk about me on CNN, Fox News, Anderson Cooper, PBS, and the local news stations. I’ve read articles mentioning me in the NY Times and the Washington Post. The fact that I did my job, a job which requires compassion and empathy over everything, is newsworthy to people because I’m Jewish. Even more so because my dad’s a Rabbi.

To be honest, I didn’t see evil when I looked into Robert Bower’s eyes. I saw something else. I can’t go into details of our interactions because of HIPAA. I can tell you that as his nurse, or anyone’s nurse, my care is given through kindness, my actions are measured with empathy, and regardless of the person you may be when you’re not in my care, each breath you take is more beautiful than the last when you’re lying on my stretcher. This was the same Robert Bowers that just committed mass homicide. The Robert Bowers who instilled panic in my heart worrying my parents were two of his 11 victims less than an hour before his arrival.

I’m sure he had no idea I was Jewish. Why thank a Jewish nurse, when 15 minutes beforehand, you’d shoot me in the head with no remorse? I didn’t say a word to him about my religion. I chose not to say anything to him the entire time. I wanted him to feel compassion. I chose to show him empathy. I felt that the best way to honor his victims was for a Jew to prove him wrong. Besides, if he finds out I’m Jewish, does it really matter? The better question is, what does it mean to you?

Love. That’s why I did it. Love as an action is more powerful than words, and love in the face of evil gives others hope. It demonstrates humanity. It reaffirms why we’re all here. The meaning of life is to give meaning to life, and love is the ultimate force that connects all living beings. I could care less what Robert Bowers thinks, but you, the person reading this, love is the only message I wish instill in you. If my actions mean anything, love means everything.


Ari Mahler, RN.

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