USC Shoah Foundation congratulates its founder Steven Spielberg on the nomination today for the 2018 Academy Awards for Best Picture for his film “The Post," which has a surprising connection to the Institute’s Visual History Archive. The testimony of Holocaust survivor Raphael Zimetbaum references Elise Meyer, the aunt of Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham, the real-life person portrayed by Meryl Streep in the film. Graham led the Washington Post during the publication of the Pentagon Papers in the early ‘70s, events that were chronicled in the movie. She was also a pivotal player a few years later when the Watergate scandal broke.
In his testimony, Zimetbaum tells about how he was rescued by Brazilian diplomat Luis Martins de Souza Dantas. In 1933, Souza Dantas married American Elise Meyer Stern, the sister of Eugene Meyer, who acquired the bankrupt Washington Post. Graham took control of the paper after the suicide of her husband, Philip Graham, in 1963.
The connection between “The Post” and the Zimetbaum story demonstrates how the vast collection of 55,000 testimonies in the Institute’s Visual History Archive document important historical accounts – and unexpected treasures – from across our shared history.