Sunday, Apr 14th

Scarsdale in WWII: Now Free to Watch Online

RedCrossSGCA blood drive at Scarsdale Golf Club during WWIIOn Tuesday night March 26, the Scarsdale Historical Society held a screening of the film “Scarsdale in World War II,” to a packed audience in the Scott Room of Scarsdale Library. The movie was created and released by Scarsdale residents in 1946 and chronicles how Scarsdalians united and rallied in support of the war effort in the 1940s. It was produced and screened as part of a fundraising campaign for Jewish refugee children.

The original 16mm film was found in storage at the Scarsdale Public Library, and all 1,200 feet of film has been digitized and preserved by the Scarsdale Historical Society. This historic treasure presents a stunning, visual testimony of Scarsdale life in the 1940’s. The footage captures Scarsdale’s landmarks as they appeared almost 80 years ago, including the only-known footage of some sites that no longer exist.

Proceeds from the screening of this film went to a national interfaith organization named “Children to Palestine.” The meaning behind this name requires some explanation, as it could cause some confusion in today’s context. When Jewish children were orphaned and displaced during the Holocaust, one of the few options for resettling them was the area then known as Palestine - before Israel became a nation in 1948. Moved by the plight of Jewish children, Scarsdale residents of all backgrounds united to rescue them from the “land of persecution” and bring them to a “Land of Promise.”

The Scarsdale branch of “Children to Palestine” was founded by two Scarsdale residents: Dorothy Silverstone (of 6 Richbell Close) and Susan Bennett (or 10 Elmdorf Drive). A Junior Committee was formed, and they sponsored the making of this film with the support of Dorothy Silverstone’s husband, Murray Silverstone, who was the President of 20th Century Fox. They were a very philanthropic couple, and it’s worth noting that with all of Murray’s accomplishments in the movie industry, this film was named in his obituary as one of his proud accomplishments.

It turns out that former Mayor Jane Veron was related to Silverstone. Veron explained, “Murray and Dorothy are my great uncle and aunt. My grandfather Emanuel Silverstone (my mom’s dad) also worked at 20th Century Fox. He would tell us stories about famous actresses like Elizabeth Taylor and Shirley Jones. Murray was his older brother. As a child, we used to visit Murray and Dorothy’s home/barn on Richbell Close for family events. We were regaled with stories from their days in the motion picture business.”

The Historical Society conducted research and detective work to identify some of the film locations and prominent residents, and provided this information in captions to help the audience connect and better understand the film. The film has now been posted online and is free to watch!

See wonderful footage of a party at Fox Meadow Tennis Club the night of the attack on Pearl Harbor, women of Scarsdale who swung into action for the war effort and sad stories of Scarsdale’s young men who did not return from the war.

The film was produced by stage producer Julian Olney and narrated by renowned broadcaster Lowell Thomas and is well worth watching here.

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