Morgenthau is a major full-length documentary film currently in production. Planned for world-wide release, Morgenthau tells the epic story of three generations of one famed family, that spans the entire 20th century. It’s a story that epitomizes the concept of the American dream and about overcoming adversity to stand up for the just cause. It’s a story about doing the right thing.
Morgenthau is about the unique journey of three men, born of one family but from three different generations who seemed to share a DNA link of fighting for justice and right through the window of public service. The story is painted on a canvas that stretches across the most dramatic events faced by America through the 20th century: immigration to America, World War I, the Armenian Genocide, the Great Depression, World War II, the Holocaust, McCarthyism, the fight for Civil Rights, the Mafia and organized crime, the blight of American urban drugs and crime, Wall Street/ banking corruption and fraud, and international terrorism.
In the history of this nation, while there have been many important historical personalities who have shaped our society for the better, there have been few families whose public service commitment was so powerfully carried across multiple generations. The Adams, the Kennedys, the Roosevelts — all are well known American families who served the public good, but perhaps the most dramatic unbroken chain of Grandfather, Father, and Son that stretched over one hundred years was named Morgenthau.
Morgenthau is deeply intertwined with America’s journey through the 20th century. It begins with the arrival to New York of a curious ten year old who had to grow up quickly, learning a new language, new rules of life, peculiar customs, and an unfamiliar landscape of power. His name was Henry, born into a large Jewish family in Mannheim, Germany. He would teach himself everything he needed to know, work his way through Columbia Law School, and eventually become a very successful attorney, a wealthy New York real estate visionary, and finally the powerful United States Ambassador to Turkey under President Woodrow Wilson. His domain would be Constantinople, a city located between two continents that would become the vortex of the First World War.
It was in this role as American Ambassador that Henry Morgenthau Sr. came face-to-face with one of the most egregious acts of prejudice and murder theretofore known to the modern Western world. He was witness to the mass deportation and murder of hundreds of thousands of Armenian men, women and children — the so-called “Murder of a Nation.” Despite political pressure and the sacrifice of his burgeoning career in public office, he exposed the horrors of the Armenian Genocide to the world and laid the cornerstone of the Morgenthau Legacy.
Henry Jr., the second generation American Morgenthau, would soon befriend a young, intensely charismatic patrician from Dutchess County, New York, named Franklin Delano Roosevelt. This Henry would become arguably one of the most powerful men in the world as Secretary of the United States Treasury. He would soon be completely immersed in the immense turmoil of the Great Depression, World War II, and the Holocaust. It would be an intense transformation into power.
The third generation, Henry’s son Robert, found his footing on the decks of American destroyers in the European and Pacific theatres of World War II. Lt. Commander Robert Morris Morgenthau survived the sinking of his ship in the Mediterranean and the furious assault of Japanese Kamikazes off of Okinawa and Iwo Jima to become the most recognized and influential New York prosecutor in the 20th century. As U.S. Attorney under Robert F. Kennedy and the District Attorney of New York for an unprecedented nine terms, Morgenthau fought tirelessly against injustice for a period spanning more than half a century.