When I spoke with Paula Apsell via Zoom on April 10, 2024, I couldn’t help but start by thanking her for making a film that portrayed Jews in the Holocaust as something other than passive victims. That narrative is all too familiar, and for too many years, was the only one remembered. Apsell, who retired from producing PBS’ Nova, was determined to change that. She accomplishes that with her documentary, RESISTANCE: THEY FOUGHT BACK, a riveting story of Jews who refused to allow themselves to be defeated in spirit, and who often found a way to fight back in ways that undermined the Nazis and their myth of the Master Race. That includes forcing the Nazis to shut down two concentration camps.

We covered the specifics of that, as well as the way Apsell defined the three types of resistance employed against the oppressors, why these stories are not better known; and the indispensable role historian and archeologist Professor Richard Freund played in mentoring Apsell though the filmmaking process.