What does it mean to see the inner workings of the gas chambers, to live within the walls of a former transit camp, to film the liberation of Bergen-Belsen, or to testify at the Nuremberg Trials? Witness comes in many forms. This year’s series focuses on individuals, locations, and events that saw and created a record of the crimes committed during the Holocaust.
All films will be shown on Wednesdays in the social hall at the Jewish Community Campus. Each program will begin at 7:00 p.m. with an introduction to the film. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for those with advance reservations. Seating for those without reservations will begin at 6:45 p.m.
Reservations: Advance reservations are encouraged and can be made by calling MCHE’s automated response line, 913-327-8196, visiting the MCHE office, emailing email@example.com with full contact information, or reserving your seats below. The cutoff for advance reservations is noon the day prior to each event.
To help defray costs of licensing fees and publicity, MCHE is inviting sponsorships of $150 for individual films and full series sponsorships of $500 (Supporter) and $1,000 (Patron). Those interested may make their commitments using the button below, by mail, or by calling MCHE’s executive director, Jean Zeldin, at 913-327-8191.
This film follows two days in the life of Saul Auslander, Hungarian prisoner working as a member of the Sonderkommando at one of the Auschwitz Crematoriums. In order to bury the corpse of a boy he takes for his son, Saul turns away of the living and their plans of rebellion to save the remains of a single boy.
(Academy Award and Golden Globe Winner, Best Foreign Language Film of 2016- Running time: 107 minutes, Hungarian with English subtitles)
In the Parisian suburb of Drancy lies an unadorned block of low-income housing. With some of the cheapest rents in the Paris region, it is the residence of some 500 residents. On the surface everything seems normal enough, children improvise games beneath its stark façade. But in 1940 this building became the central internment camp for Jews during the Nazi occupation of France and is considered France’s biggest Holocaust site. Most of the 77,000 Jews arrested in France came through its austere lodgings, most on their way to Auschwitz. Through moving interviews with Holocaust survivors and fascinating archival footage from the 1940s, this film offers a compassionate look inside the walls of this housing project and raises important questions about the existence of this building. How could such a place still exist? And since it does exist, why didn’t it become a museum?
(Running time: 88 minutes, English and French with English subtitles)
Using remarkable, recently discovered archive footage and testimony from both survivors and liberators, this film tells of the efforts made to document the almost unbelievable scenes that the Allies encountered on liberation. The film explores how a team of top filmmakers, including Sidney Bernstein, Richard Crossman and Alfred Hitchcock, came together to make a film to provide undeniable evidence of what the Allies found. However, due to emerging Cold War politics, the film was stopped in its tracks by the British Government and only now 70 years on, has it been completed. This film explains and contextualizes images previously seen, but not fully understood.
(Running Time: 75 minutes, English, Contains graphic footage)
1945. The Nuremberg Trials are about to begin; the war criminals are to be brought to justice. In a guest house of witnesses of the trials, perpetrators and victims of the Nazi crimes are housed under one roof. On any given evening, concentration camp survivors sat next to personal friends of Hitler, resistance fighters next to SS officers, and counterintelligence officers next to former heads of the Gestapo. Hired by the U.S. military administration as a house manager, Countess Belavar does her best to maintain a cultivated atmosphere among her guests. At first, everybody tries to adjust to the others and to the new times. But with the first testimonies in the courtroom, the realities of the past become too present to be ignored.
(Running time: 105 minutes, German with English subtitles)