From Slavery to Freedom

Dir. Arkady Kogan | 84 min
Documentary Israel 2019
Russian with English subtitles US Premiere

Monday, May 2011:30 PM AFI Silver Theatre

Wednesday, May 2210:15 PM Bethesda Row Cinema

From Slavery to Freedom portrays the story of Soviet ‘Refuseniks’ through the prism of Natan Sharansky’s biography. In 1977, Sharansky, a famous human rights activist, was arrested on charges of spying for the USA, treason, and anti-Soviet agitation. The film takes you back to a Soviet era where there was an overwhelming sense of fear and insecurity in the face of the system.

No single person symbolizes the era more than Natan Sharansky, who defied the entire Soviet system in his fight for freedom and national identification. After spending years in prison, he ultimately won the struggle, paving the way for all of Soviet Jewry.

May 20th screening followed by a conversation with film subject Natan Sharansky and Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer. Moderated by the EDCJCC’s CEO Carole R. Zawatsky.


May 20 screening followed by a conversation with film subject Natan Sharansky and Israel's Ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer. Moderated by the EDCJCC's CEO, Carole R. Zawatsky.

Natan Sharansky was born in Donetsk, Ukraine. He was a spokesman for the human rights movement, a leader in the struggle for the right of Soviet Jews to immigrate to Israel and a prisoner of Zion, served 9 years in the Gulag. From 1996–2005 he was Minister and Deputy Prime Minister in four successive Israeli governments. From 2009–2018 he served as Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel. Natan Sharansky is the recipient of Congressional Medal of Honor and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2018 he received the highest Israeli award – the Israel Prize for promoting Aliyah and the ingathering of the exiles. He is also the author of three books: Fear No Evil, The Case for Democracy and Defending Identity.

Ron Dermer was born and raised in Miami Beach, Florida. He earned a degree in Finance and Management from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) from Oxford University. For three years, he was a columnist for the Jerusalem Post.

In 2004, Ron co-authored with Natan Sharansky the best-selling book, The Case For Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror, which has been translated into ten languages. From 2005-2008, Dermer served as Israel’s Minister of Economic Affairs in the United States. From 2009-2013, he served as Senior Advisor to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He is married to Rhoda Dermer and has five children​.

Carole Zawatsky has been the CEO at the Edlavitch DCJCC since 2011.

She has held leadership roles at many Jewish museums throughout the United States including the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC and The Jewish Museum in New York.  Her most recent position was with the JCC of San Francisco where she was the Associate Director of Arts, Ideas and Jewish.

Carole was born and raised in suburban Washington and holds a BA from the University of Maryland and MA from George Washington University.


Genres and Topics

Print Source

Hillel Rate

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Pricing Tier

Tier B

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This event finished on May 23, 2019.

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