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Ben & Charlene Stern: Not Here Not Now

May 21, 2017

9:30 am

Ben Stern is a Holocaust survivor who endured nine concentration camps and two death marches only to face the Nazis again 30 years later when the National Socialist Party of America planned its infamous march in Skokie, Illinois. Today, Stern, at 95, has an unusual roommate: the grand-daughter of unrepentant German Nazis. The award-winning documentary film, directed by his daughter Charlene Stern, will be shown along with the conversation, and Stern will share his unique insights on survival, hate and healing.




About the film

“Near Normal Man” is a half-hour documentary film, told in a first-hand account by Ben Stern, a Polish Jew, who survives 2 ghettos, 9 concentration camps and 2 death marches. The Nazis identify him as one of the dangerous Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto. He emerges alive, only to face the Nazis again – 30 years later, this time in Skokie, Illinois. Ben decides he will not let them march in his adopted hometown and confronts his rabbi who tells the survivors to “stay home, close the shades and let them pass.” Leading with a small group of survivors, Ben wages a fiercely public battle against the Nazis, ACLU and Chicago Jewish leadership. When the Nazis learn that 60,000 Jews and Christians plan to show up to the march and counter-demonstrate, the mayor of Skokie tells the Nazis he can’t guarantee their safety even with the Illinois National Guard and police from neighboring states. The Nazis cancel the march and never return to Skokie.

About The Forum

The Forum is a series of stimulating conversations about faith, ethics and culture in relation to the important issues of our day. We invite inspiring and illustrious people to sit down for a real conversation with the Forum’s host, Malcolm Clemens Young, the dean of Grace Cathedral, and with you. Our guests range from artists, inventors and philosophers to pop culturists and elected officials, but the point of The Forum is singular: civil, sophisticated discourse that engages minds and hearts to think in new ways about the world.


Near Normal Man

About the host

The Very Rev. Dr. Malcolm Clemens Young is the dean of Grace Cathedral. He is the author of The Spiritual Journal of Henry David Thoreau and The Invisible Hand in Wilderness: Economics, Ecology, and God, and is a regular contributor on religion to the Huffington Post.


Gresham Hall


Free and open to all


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