THIS IS NOT JUST ANOTHER HOLOCAUST FILM; IT IS UNIQUE.
We have purposefully avoided the “shock and horror” approach of camp footage and dead bodies. We offer instead a very personal story, one in which the viewer can perhaps see him or herself in the shoes of these ordinary people, living ordinary lives, and suddenly having the world as they know it cruelly destroyed.
The viewer cannot help but question what their own response might be, should such heinous events play out again in this lifetime.
Walter was a Jew saving Jews; most of the resistance leaders throughout Europe were non-Jews (including Schindler). Although the Hollandsche Schouwburg (Jewish Theater) and the Crèche are mentioned in other films, the story of the people who lived, worked and were deported from there has not been told. Only two of our survivors have been interviewed by Spielberg’s Shoah Foundation.
2. We ask the viewer to reflect on the concept of “Hero”.
The term hero is over-worked in our lives as it is used to describe baseball players and successful businessmen. Yet there are people who we believe are truly heroic. Certainly those people who risked their lives during the World Trade Center attacks qualify. Someone who rushes into a burning building to save others qualifies.
Was Walter a hero of the Holocaust? Were the crèche nurses? Were the children?
The film serves to pose the questions, but not to answer them.
3. We ask the viewer to reflect on the concepts of dissent, resistance and “choiceless choices”.
The development of the film will show that all of these people came to their place in the deportations gradually, through a series of small actions – and choices – made over a long period of time. No one was given a single, clear choice to make. Each person’s story is different and each person’s decisions about how to respond were different.
We ask the viewer to reflect on the choices that were made:
- Jews who stood up to the Nazis either individually or as members of the
underground, and those who chose passive resistance
– resistance workers who persevered and those who quit
– parents who gave up their children and those who carried them to the camps
– individual Jews who went into hiding and those who lost their lives by joining their
families at Westerbork
– Christians who believed that their faith drove them to help and those who felt it
allowed them to stay away
4. We will offer this film as an adjunct to curriculum in schools and programs that ask the next generation to learn about and from the lessons of the Holocaust.
Our introduction encapsulates information about Holland before the war, the
geo-political realities of the time, the invasion and occupation of Holland, and
the gradual and insidious imposition of restrictions on Dutch Jewry.
Our interviewees tell the story of the Schouwburg and the Crèche in a personal and impassioned way. We know that meeting these people and hearing their stories through the medium of film will have a far greater impact than reading about it in a book.
The film ends with the interviewees reflecting on the legacy of Walter, and of their own experiences. They each offer emphatic statements about what they have taken from this experience, but no two of them say the same thing.
The film will provoke people to question, to think, to discuss, and to reflect. There are no easy answers, and we do not pretend to know “one truth”.
We hope that both students and adults who experience this film will carry a piece of it with them and that it will help to form their response when they are faced with a difficult, perhaps choiceless, choice in their own lives.
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