WXXI and M&T Bank present American St. Nick at the Little Theatre, November 10

Release Date: 
Tue, 10/27/2015

For immediate release
Contact: Kristin Tutino, WXXI, 258-0253

(Rochester, NY) October 27, 2015 – WXXI and its Veterans Connections initiative, in partnership with M&T Bank, are pleased to host a FREE screening of American St. Nick on Tuesday, November 10 at 6:30 p.m. at the Little Theatre (theater 2). The documentary, produced by filmmaker Tim Gray, tells the true story of a handful of American soldiers who, during the chaos of war, brought Christmas back to the children of a small Luxembourg town – and helped preserve a holiday tradition that continues to this day. The screening will be followed by a discussion with the American St. Nick Richard Brookins, who is a Pittsford resident, along with documentarian Tim Gray and American St. Nick author Peter Lion. Please note: Seats to the screening are first come, first served. 

World War II exacted a heavy toll on the people of Wiltz, Luxembourg, nearly destroying the small town. Occupied by German forces for four years, the town was subject to the whims of Nazi leadership: streets were renamed, the native language was banned, religious freedoms were curtailed, and Saint Nicholas Day was outlawed. American St. Nick chronicles a day at the height of the war when the battle-weary 28th Infantry Division of the American Army returned hope and joy to the children and people of this war-torn town. On Dec. 5, 1944, American soldiers, led by Harry Stuts, put their guns down for one day and organized a party celebrating the town's centuries-old Saint Nick tradition. Soldiers made hot chocolate from their D-rations, company cooks made donuts and cookies for the children, and 22-year-old corporal Richard Brookins played the role of Saint Nick. An emotional and heartfelt story, American St. Nick illustrates how American soldiers and residents of the hamlet were able to bond over a moment in time, creating a tradition that continues to this day.

American St. Nick is a production from the World War II Foundation and Tim Gray Media with support from M&T Bank. In December, WXXI will serve as the presenting station, and the documentary will be distributed by American Public Television to PBS stations across the country. It will air on WXXI-TV on Monday, December 7 at 9 p.m.

WXXI’s Veterans Connections initiative is designed to help bridge military and veteran needs with community support and awareness.  Through special TV, radio, and online programming, documentary films, group discussions, news features, and a comprehensive web site (WXXI.org/veterans), Veterans Connections works to create a community platform to connect veterans with valuable resources.