Jerry and Kathy Weiner have been sponsoring the events of Tolerance Week in Sioux City, Iowa since 2005. It began when they saw a film in Florida called Paper Clips which had limited release in theaters.
We arranged to bring the film to the Sioux City Orpheum Theatre, and Mr. Weiner invited Mr. Phil Gans, an Auschwitz survivor who he met at the Florida Holocaust Museum to come to Sioux City to speak after the film. The film showing was free and open to the public on Sunday night and about 1,000 attended. On Monday morning, 1,800 8th grade students from Sioux City and nearby towns attended a showing of the film and heard Mr. Gans speak.
It became clear that Mr. Gans wanted to speak to as many students as possible and it was decided to make plans for him to return for a week so that he could give his full presentation to many area students.
Since 2007, Tolerance Week has involved a film showing with special guests each year which is free and open to the public and Mr. and Mrs. Weiner host a dinner prior to the evening showing to honor the special guests.
Since 2005, Mr. Gans has spoken to more than 25,000 students. Tolerance Week has featured award winning films including Paperclips, The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler, The Reckoning: Remembering the Dutch Resistance, One Out of Ten, Inside Hanna’s Suitcase, Nicky’s Family, Blessed is the Match and Angel of Ahlem.
In 2014, the main Tolerance Week event was a live musical performance, Rise – A Spiritual Resistance, presented by Sioux City Symphony conductor Ryan Haskins featuring vocal and cello solos, a string quartet performing Different Trains by Steve Reich with video and still photos adding depth to the performance.
An encore of Rise was presented in 2015 and a live performance of I Never Saw Another Butterfly, an original play performed by the Sioux City Community Theatre Youth troupe in 2016. In 2017, an original play about the live of Child Holocaust Survivor Inge Auerbacher was presented by the Sioux City Community Youth troupe.
2018’s main event was a live performance by a 27 member chorus of Sioux City Community Theatre entertainers singing the poems of Inge Auerbacher set to original music. Ms. Auerbacher led the audience through the evening with more poems and recollections.