Evelyn Neuhaus, who wrote the piece below, is the filmmaker behind “Never a Bystander” and a long time member of the Ann Arbor Reconstructionist Congregation and the Ann Arbor community. AARC members will be meeting up at the Michigan for the premiere.
Dr. Irene Butter, a beloved and respected member of the Ann Arbor community, is the subject of Never a Bystander, a documentary film set to premiere on May 8, at 8 p.m. at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor, MI. The premiere of the film will be the closing event of the 2014 Ann Arbor Jewish Film Festival produced by the Jewish Community Center of Greater Ann Arbor.
Born in Germany, Irene and her family immigrated to the Netherlands in 1936, but were captured and held during WWII in two camps. When she was 14 years old, in an exchange for German civilians in allied countries, her family was released, and made their way to the United States. As an adult, she has been involved in many social causes and is one of the founders of the Wallenberg medal and lecture at the University of Michigan.
The film, Never a Bystander, teaches the timeless lesson of empowerment. Irene has chosen to live her life as a survivor, rather than a victim, overcoming trauma to fight injustice wherever possible. As the Holocaust fades from recent memory and survivors die, it is increasingly important to tell their stories and share the lessons they have to impart.