Potsdam Revisited: Overture to the Cold War

This documentary short, directed by Sam Ball and produced by Abraham D. Sofaer, recounts the remarkable story of Private Stuart Canin, who was admitted to Julliard in 1944 but was sent off to fight the Nazis. Along with a rifle, he carried his violin on his back “because you never know.” Bound for the Eastern front, Canin wound up in Potsdam, Germany, where he performed privately for Stalin, Churchill, and Truman to break the ice -at the president’s request- of tense negotiations that continue to echo into our world today.

Co-produced by Citizen Film and the Hoover Institution, the short film is part of a three-part program that includes a performance by Mr. Canin, still a virtuoso violinist at 90-years-old. For decades, he was concertmaster for John Williams (Schindler’s List; Forrest Gump; James and the Giant Peach, etc.) and several of the world’s most prestigious orchestras. In 1959, Canin became the first American to win the prestigious Paganini Prize, but he was “never so nervous as in July 1945.” The third part of our program is a discussion between Mr. Canin and professor Norman Naimark, one of the foremost experts on early Cold War history, about what Mr. Canin observed first-hand at Potsdam. The program was performed to sold-out theaters at Lincoln Center and Stanford University. Learn more at potsdamrevisited.org

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Potsdam Revisited: Overture to the Cold War

Citizen Film PRO

These videos are part of a multimedia collaboration between Citizen Film and the Hoover Institution Library & Archives, exploring a remarkable intersection of history and music that took place at the Potsdam Conference in July 1945. Visit potsdamrevisited.org

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