January ~ February ~ March ~ April ~
Social Hall and White Theatre
Jewish Community Campus
5801 West 115th Street
Overland Park, Kansas
In the years since the end of the Second World War, European nations have had to come to terms with difficult and dark years in their nation’s past. Responses have been a diverse and oftentimes halting process, each unique to their own country’s history. Germany has moved from avoidance to confrontation to finally, commemoration. The responses in other countries, such as Poland, have shifted from attempts at confrontation to outright revisionism. This year’s free film series includes films from countries that perpetrated or collaborated during the Holocaust. Each of these films deals with the aftermath of the Holocaust, some immediate, others decades later, but all provide powerful insight into each nation’s relationship with their own past.
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.
Individual Film Sponsors
The Nasty Girl- January 23 – 7pm Social Hall at the Jewish Community Campus
Based on a true story, schoolgirl Sonja gained the respect of the people in her small Bavarian town by winning an essay competition. She decides to enter another competition with a new subject, “My Town During the Third Reich.” This time Sonja faces hostility. The gutsy young woman is denied access to city and church archives. Years later, married with a family, Sonja remains determined to discover the truth, to do so she must confront people who were raised and educated to avoid and repress uncomfortable facts and emotions.
(Running time: 92 minutes, German with English subtitles, 1990)
Aftermath- February 20 – 7pm White Theatre at the Jewish Community Campus
Inspired by events in Jedwabna Poland (as written about by Jan Gross in Neighbors) this film follows Franek and Jozek Kalina, sons of a poor farmer from a small village in Poland. Twenty years after immigrating to the United States, Franek finally returns to his homeland to discover his brother ostracized from the community and threatened with violence. The brothers uncover a dark secret that forces them to confront the history of their family and their hometown. Upon its release in Poland, Aftermath received acclaim and generated intense controversy. Polish nationals have accused the film of being anti-Polish propaganda, as well as a distortion of a sensitive piece of Polish history, leading the film to be banned in some Polish cinemas.
(Running time: 107 minutes, Polish with English subtitles, rated R for violence and language, 2013)
1945- March 27 – 7pm White Theatre at the Jewish Community Campus
On a sweltering August day in 1945, Hungarian villagers prepare for the wedding of the town clerk’s son. Meanwhile, two Orthodox Jews arrive at the village train station with mysterious boxes labeled “fragrances.” The town clerk fears the men may be heirs of the village’s deported Jews and expects them to demand their illegally acquired property back. Other villagers are afraid more survivors will come, posing a threat to the property and possessions they have claimed as their own. 1945 is a complex story of a society trying to come to terms with the recent horrors they’ve experienced, perpetrated, or just tolerated for personal gain.
(Running time: 97 minutes, Hungarian with English subtitles, 2017)
Drawing Against Oblivion – April 17 – 7pm Social Hall at the Jewish Community Campus
Austrian painter and photographer Manfred Bockelmann, was born in 1943, a time when millions of people, including hundreds of thousands of children, were killed. He asks himself “What happened to the children who lay in the wrong cradle? Bockelmann wants to shed light on the countless children and teenagers who were murdered by the Nazis and since disappeared in the archives as a statistical number. He wants to give back a face, a personality, to the numbers. Drawn in charcoal on coarse canvas, he draws one portrait after the other. Seen through the eyes of the artist, the film embarks on a journey to visit the archives of Auschwitz and to meet Holocaust survivors who knew the children he has drawn.
(Running time: 67 minutes, German and English with English subtitles. 2015)