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Saturday, May 19, 2018

For film archives: 'After Auschwitz'


In a new chapter of the wrenching Holocaust story comes a sad and remarkable documentary, After Auschwitz, by Jon Kean about six women who survived Nazi death camps to cross the Atlantic, marry, and become successful American citizens.

After release by American and Russian soldiers into the woods and on the streets of Germany at the close of World War II, these women struggled at times with new found freedoms, but eventually, in gradual transformations, could claim victory over fear, brutality, and starvation.

Testaments to their miracles of human perseverance, persistence, and sheer drive are understated descriptions of these pioneers.
Without giving the contents much thought in advance, I anticipated a quarter of the film to be scenes before and after the concentration camps, but I was wrong.  Gruesome visuals filled far more than 25 percent, no pictures or videos which I recognized.  This is not for the weak.

That the movie was a long time in production is not surprising given the years the directors/producers/researchers must have spent  searching for film to match the ladies' stories, and they found them!


After you get out of prison and are set free, where do you go to look for your parents? Or your brother? Or cousins or old friends?

One woman made it back to her home town on foot to find her family's house occupied by a new family who wore her family's clothing.
 

About 75 percent of Holocaust victims who lived were the only members of their families to survive.

One of the women cautions at the end: It can happen again, and it is happening, in Sudan and other places. Large numbers of skeptics deny the existence of the Holocaust. Violence, intolerance, and discrimination against those who may differ from you and from me are found every day in the news.

At Rotten Tomatoes the film's score is 100%.

Photographs and brief biographical sketches of the film's six women, some of whom are deceased, may be found at the movie's website here.

They are:
 

Eva (Schick) Beckmann, born in Prague, Czechoslovakia

Rena (Honigman) Drexler,
born in Sosnowiec, Poland

Renee (Weinfeld) Firestone, born in Uzhorod, Czechoslovakia

Erika (Engel) Jacoby, born in Miscolc, Hungary

Lili (Nutkowicz) Majzner
, born in Lodz, Poland

Linda (Scheffer) Sherman,
born in Amsterdam, Holland

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