Phoenix: The Life and Death of Alice Herz

A Documentary by Betsy Kalin



On March 16, 1965, Alice Herz, an 82-year-old German Jewish immigrant, writer, and lifelong peace activist set herself on fire on a street corner in Detroit to protest “the arms race all over the world.” Alice was the first U.S. activist to self-immolate in objection to the Vietnam War, yet is virtually unknown. Phoenix sheds light on her life and death while questioning why she has been erased from history as both an intellectual leader of the twentieth century and as a courageous woman affecting social change. Helga Herz, Alice’s daughter, continued her family’s legacy by also devoting her life to activism. Through exploring Alice’s and Helga’s lives, Phoenix shows their relevance to contemporary social justice and peacebuilding movements. The Center For Independent Documentary is a 501C3 Corporation. All donations are full deductible as allowed by law. Our Federal ID# is 04-2738458.

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