Film: Rebuilt from Broken Glass

Thursday, Jan 26, 2023

Your donations help us fund exciting public programs such as this!

Donate Here


Thursday, January 26th
5:30pm ET Doors | 6:00 pm ET Screening

Live at the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History
General Admission Ticket: $16 | Member Ticket: $11

Eighty years after escaping Nazi terror, a miracle awaits.

Fred Behrend witnessed the flames of Kristallnacht in 1938 at age 12, seeing synagogue after synagogue on fire, and was soon fleeing Nazi tyranny. As a GI several years later, he achieved his own victory over the Nazis, teaching democracy to German POWs. Yet at age 92, he  discovered one last triumph still awaited—a miracle 80 years in the making. 

All are welcome to the Weitzman for this screening of Rebuilt from Broken Glass in honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day. To start the evening, Mayor Jim Kenney of Philadelphia will be giving opening remarks. Following the film, join us for a Q&A with the director, Larry Hanover, and star of the documentary, Fred Behrend.

About the Documentary

At age 12, Fred Behrend’s life was ripped apart. He was living 65 miles from home with the family of Cantor Max Baum so he could attend a secular Jewish school after the Nazis banned Jews from public school. In November 1938, he witnessed the horrors of Kristallnacht (Night of  Broken Glass), seeing synagogue after synagogue torched in the city of Cologne. Fred did not know that back home, his father, like 30,000 other Jewish males, had been arrested for transport  to a concentration camp. All Fred knew was that his idyllic time with the Baum family and his friend Henry was over. His mother frantically sent a car to pick him up. 

Fred’s family lost most of its material possessions. But they escaped to Cuba and, eventually, America.  

Fred would turn the tables in 1946 as an American GI. He was part of a little-known  denazification initiative called the Intellectual Diversion program at a Virginia military base. Selected for his ability to speak German and his counterintelligence training, Fred was taught by elite professors to give crash courses to German POWs about American-style democracy. 

In his later years, Fred began to speak to schoolchildren about his Holocaust past. In 2018, he was speaking to students at a Jewish day school on the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht about that fateful day and his friend Henry Baum. The head of the school left the room for 10 minutes  and returned later holding a cellphone. He handed it to Fred.  

On the line was Henry Baum. Soon they would meet—in one more powerful victory over Hitler  and the Nazis.

Below is a short preview of Rebuilt From Broken Glass

About the Director

Larry Hanover, Director/Executive Producer, coauthored Fred Behrend’s memoir Rebuilt  from Broken Glass: A German Jewish Life Remade in America (Purdue University Press, 2017).  He conceived of the documentary after the miraculous reunion of Fred Behrend with Henry Baum in 2018. Larry coauthored a book on empathy and tolerance The Empathy Advantage  (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020) and has assisted with the memoirs of other Holocaust survivors.  Larry is communications manager for a major hospital system in suburban Philadelphia, where he produces written and audiovisual content. He was an award-winning reporter for The Times of Trenton from 1988 to 2006 and also worked for the Cherry Hill Courier-Post.


Safety / Covid 19:
*This event will occur in the DELL THEATER CONCOURSE LEVEL.
*Masking in the auditorium is mandatory.


Live at The Weitzman
101 South Independence Mall East (Corner of 5th & Market)
Philadelphia, PA 19106

This program is presented by the Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History in partnership with Temple Beth Zion-Beth Israel, Philadelphia Jewish Film and Media (PJFM), ADL Philadelphia, Gratz College, the Holocaust Awareness Museum and Education Center (HAMEC), 3G Philly, and the Middle Atlantic Region of the Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs.