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Watch The Trailer

Get a sneak peek of Browsing Through Birke’s!
[ trailer produced by Eric Sack ]

To purchase your own DVD copy of Browsing Through Birke’sCLICK HERE.
Special DVD Extras are included! To learn more, CLICK HERE.



On May 18, 2010, Browsing Through Birke’s premiered to a sold out crowd in downtown Lowell at the Lowell National Historical Park Visitor Center, barely a block away from the former Birke’s Department Store building. Friends, family, and former shoppers enjoyed visiting with Sally and perusing wonderful Birke’s memorabilia. A second screening of the film will take place later this year. Above photo: Teens from Lowell’s United Teen Equality Center stand with Szifra Birke at the premiere of Browsing Through Birke’s.


When Nathan and Sala (Sally) Birke started their lives in Lowell in the 1940′s, they’d spent years enduring the horrors of World War II and the Holocaust. Their story of survival, perseverance, and success comes to life in the witty and poignant documentary Browsing Through Birke’s, produced and directed with great intimacy by Los Angeles filmmaker Steven D. Grossman. As associate producer, Nathan and Sally’s daughter Szifra Birke also appears in the film, sharing her own recollections of childhood while guiding us through the lives of her mother and father. For those who don’t know anything about downtown Lowell’s Birke’s Department Store, this film will make you wish you had the chance to experience this local phenomenon. But for those who did visit the Market Street landmark — now residential space known as The Birke Building — memories will come flooding back, especially if you were fortunate enough to make it through the doors to browse the countless racks of modern and vintage clothes. Birke’s was not only a treasure trove of colorful garments, but of memories and life stories, told to visitors by Nathan and Sally Birke themselves.

For anyone who relished their retail time at Birke’s Department Store (or was “thrown” out of Birke’s for browsing!), we hope you will share your story with us on this site by leaving a comment. And by the way, if you’re reading this wondering ‘why would anyone be thrown out of a department store?’ — this documentary cannot be missed!


“‘Browsing Through Birke’s’ was an unforgettable film. It shows what determination and hope can bring to fruition by two people who had nothing but a dream and the will ‘to make it’ in their new land – and on their own terms! It’s a story that will move you, and all but put you in the store so you can grasp the true depth of that wonderful slice of Lowell’s history.”  — Ben and Miriam Litman, Jenkintown, PA


“A lovely and heart warming story.”

– Bonnie Stein, President of Generations After at the Florida Holocaust Museum, Founding Member of GSI (Generations of the Shoah International), St. Petersburg, FL


“You must see Browsing Through Birke’s. A refreshing approach to a Holocaust story that shows the effects of the war on two shop keeper’s and their daughter. Szifra’s love and understanding of her colorful parents should inspire all of us to listen more deeply to others and to try to see the person beneath their puzzling idiosyncrasies. …You go from horror to humor and admiration for what people can live through.”  — Judy C. Faust, What’s Your Story, Producer of “Angels of Austria: The Church That Reached Out To Holocaust Survivors”(


“I was fortunate enough to be part of Birke’s ‘in group’ — those to whom the ‘No Browsing’ sign did not apply. I was always greeted by Sally and Nathan’s warm hospitality and generous spirits. Tea and cookies were offered and then Sally would sift through the clothing to pick out just what I liked — and then insist on giving me the clothing to me at a much reduced price. Nathan would regale me with his irreverent wit. Shopping at Birke’s was an entertaining pleasure and an adventure — nothing else could compare.”  — Jessica, family friend


“I just watched ‘Browsing Through Birke’s’ and really loved it. I got such a sense of your family’s history, your Dad and Mom’s personalities and their zest for life, truly a great film.  I just LOVE your mother; what an amazing person – I’d be honored to meet her one day.”  — Stacey Cushner, Wellesley, MA


“I loved this film! It drew me in right away, and gave me a peek into something exquisite and unique.  And what an account of human resilience.”  — Anna Huckabee Tull, Life Coaching and Song Crafting (

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