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Mountain States Spotlight with Susan Brody

  • January 27, 2014


ADL Board Member and Documentary Filmmaker Susan Brody talks about how she became involved in ADL, her passion for languages and cultural experiences, and her dream to be a Nazi hunter.


How are you involved in ADL?

I have served on the ADL Mountain States board of directors for about 17 years and I am an Associate National Commissioner. I have co-chaired the Governor’s Holocaust Remembrance Program, the Catholic-Jewish Dialogue, the Society of Fellows Luncheon and ADL Artworks, the Torch of Liberty Event, the Development Committee and have produced dozens of videos for the ADL to highlight the lives of honorees for many events, as well as the video entitled Voices of Colorado Survivors, featuring our local Colorado Holocaust Survivors.


What is your earliest memory of ADL? How did you first become involved in ADL?

When I was dating my husband David, over 25 years ago, I attended an ADL Civil Rights Committee meeting where he was participating in a debate on whether ADL should take a position on the French law that made Holocaust denial a crime. I came into the debate, sure of where I stood, and after hearing both sides of the story, I gained a huge appreciation for the complexity of the issues that ADL deals with on a regular basis. The answer wasn’t so simple.  Then, (ADL Board Member) David Hauptman invited me to a Catholic Jewish Dialogue meeting, and as someone who loves learning about other religions and perspectives, I was hooked.


What do you do in your professional life?

I am a documentary filmmaker and video producer, specializing in life stories, documentaries, videos, tributes for non-profits and associations, political campaign videos, and ethical wills.


When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to track down, capture and help prosecute Nazis who were perpetrators during the Holocaust.


What’s a special place you have visited?

I have had two amazing and totally different experiences in Israel. One was a Bar Mitzvah trip with my family, where our son Jason had a second Bar Mitzvah on top of Mount Masada. I loved learning about the history and the archeology and getting to use my Hebrew that I learned as a child in Jewish Day School in Montreal and to experience Israel for the first time with my family. On my second trip, I went to work with Israeli and Palestinian NGO’s who were working together toward peace. Learning about the conflict from so many different perspectives, and seeing first hand positive collaboration between Arabs and Jews, was truly eye opening. I studied Arabic before leaving on this trip so I could communicate with everyone, which greatly deepened the experience.



Where can we find you when you’re not working?

You can find me doing Mom activities with our 12-year-old nephew Zach, who we are now raising, doing my errands on my bike, skiing, working out at the gym and studying a new language in my car. (Currently Japanese)


Tell us a story that immediately pops into your mind that was a defining or significant moment for you.

As a fifth grade student in Montreal, my class participated in an all-day program with a senior citizens’ group called “The Golden Agers” who all had survived the Holocaust. Our assignment was to spend time, one on one, with as many of the “Golden Agers” as possible to ask questions and learn about their life experiences. However, I found that I was unable to stop listening to the stories of the first man who I met, and ended up spending the entire day with this one gentleman, listening to his stories, crying with him and absorbing the experience. This is where my fascination with the people’s stories began, and I believe that this ultimately led to my career as a documentary life story filmmaker.


Complete this sentence: For me, ADL is —

The organization that will bring us out of the dark ages of bigotry and discrimination, and lead us to where we should be – a caring community that treats everyone fairly and with love and respect. The Mountain States ADL members are wonderful caring and intelligent people, who have become a supportive family for each other.


How do you envision ADL’s Centennial Theme “Imagine a World Without Hate”?

I see us heading into our second century, celebrating our civil rights accomplishments over the last 100 years, and continuing to work, one issue at a time, one injustice at a time, teaching one person at a time that the journey of life flows a lot smoother when you love instead of hate.