Our People's History on Film
We are fortunate to be living in a Golden Age of documentary filmmaking. Here are three compelling films, now available on DVD, that explore different aspects of Holocaust history. All are available at docurama.com.
Partisans of Vilna, the Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During World War II
This riveting documentary, co-written by director Josh Waletzky and producer Aviva Kempner, blends songs, newsreels and archival footage with interviews of Holocaust survivors to tell the story of the courageous group of Jewish young people who organized underground resistance in the Vilna Ghetto. "Partisans of Vilna: The Songs of the WWII Jewish Resistance," a Grammy-nominated CD and accompanying songbook with lyrics in English and Yiddish, are included.
Filmmakers Dana Janklowicz-Mann and Amir Mann boldly snuck into China with two survivors and a video camera to shoot the site of the original Shanghai Ghetto for this moving feature length documentary about the place where thousands of European Jews sought refuge from Nazi persecution after being denied visas to the United States and other countries. The film tells the little known story of the Jewish refugees, their relationships with the local Chinese and with the occupying Japanese army, the attempts of the American Jewish community to help the refugees, the rich cultural life they constructed under great hardship, and the tragedy of their relatives who stayed behind in Europe. Interviews with survivors, historians, stock footage and rare photos are included. For more information, go to http://www.shanghaighetto.com/.
My Knees Were Jumping: Remembering the Kindertransports
This was the first feature-length documentary to tell the story of the Kindertransport. Filmmaker Melissa Hacker's mother, Ruth Morley, an academy award nominated costume designer, was one of 10,000 children saved on the eve of World War II when Britain opened its doors to Jewish children threatened by the coming Nazi onslaught. Most of these children never saw their parents again. Narrated by Oscar-winning actress Joanne Woodward, the film weaves personal accounts with archival footage to explore the impact of the experience on those who took part.