Following the surrender of Nazi Germany, a parade of SS officers testified before an international tribunal and described the details of their systematic plan to eradicate European Jewry. No story was more astonishing than the candid testimony of Rudolph Hoess, the commander of Auschwitz. He provided an international assembly of judges, reporters and witnesses the chilling details of how two million Jews had been murdered under his watchful eye.
The movie opens during the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939. By October 31, 1940, the Nazis have forced all the Jewish residents to abandon their homes and move to the ghetto. The family has to sell its prized possession, the piano, for next to nothing.
Life is Beautiful, written, directed and starring Roberto Benigni (who won the Best Actor Oscar for this role), captures the power of love, family and imagination to conquer all.
Septembers of Shiraz is an adaptation of Dalia Sofer’s 2008 novel of the same name.
A shocking documentary about the concentration camps that was suppressed by the British in 1945 will be released in April to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen. The film, German Concentration Camps Factual Survey, includes footage by British, American, and Soviet military cameramen of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen, Magdanek, Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Dachau and other camps.
Shoah may be the most important historical film that no one has seen. While “no one” is an exaggeration, this iconic 1985 documentary about the Holocaust has not been widely viewed. Its 9 ½-hour length intimidated theater goers when it was first released and at its limited showings since that time. Although the Criterion Collection has recently made it available on DVD, it is now available for the first time online at the SundanceNow Doc Club.*
Directed by Menachem Daum and Oren Rudavsky
At the beginning of this fascinating documentary, Leonard Nimoy (who shares the narration with Sarah Jessica Parker) notes, “Hasidim are a minority within a minority. They arouse controversy among other Jews, no less than among gentiles.” The film explores some of that controversy, though filmmakers Daum (who lives in Crown Heights, home to the Lubavitch Hasidim) and Rudavsky paint a mostly loving portrait of this distinctive branch of Judaism.
Review of a 2008 documentary about Israelis who travel to India, get involved with the drug scene, and “flip out.”
Walking with the Enemy, a new Holocaust-centered film by a new director and a new production company, officially releases on the 25th.
Ruth Gottlieb does not seem to be significantly different from any other octogenarian one might meet—other than her remarkable sharpness of mind. But then she begins to tell her story, one of sorrow upon sorrow. From the loss of nearly all her loved ones to the horrors of the Holocaust, Ruth has seen more suffering […]
If you celebrate Purim, the next major Jewish holiday, you might like Megillas Lester, a new, animated feature from Kolrom studios. As might be inferred, the movie is a departure from the book of Esther from which Purim is based. In fact, Queen Esther never materializes throughout the course of the film. Instead, the narrative […]
Movie Review No Place on Earth (2012) PG-13 -reviewed by Arielle Rothbard Last Friday, on opening day for Janet Tobias’ No Place on Earth, I had several presuppositions upon entering the theater. I imagined that the film would be solely narrative, being that the events were over seventy years old. I expected the first showing […]
Movie Review The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008) PG-13 -reviewed by Matt Sieger April 7–14 marks Holocaust Remembrance Week in the United States. Among the many compelling films one could view to remember the victims of the Shoah, I would like to recommend the simple yet overpowering movie, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, […]
I just saw the 2012 version of the movie Les Misérables. I am also a quarter of the way through the unabridged audiobook. I think the question “the book or the movie?” is more complex with Les Mis than it is with some other titles. (“The Hobbit,” for example, in which the film version gives […]
Who are your “heroes of the faith”? One of mine is Jonathan Edwards. Edwards was a pastor in Massachusetts back in the 1700’s and is closely associated with what is called America’s First Great Awakening. Although the nature and scope of that Awakening has been debated over the years, there can be no doubt that […]
Forbidden Peace: the Story Behind the Headlines Jews for Jesus What would make a Palestinian man, who hated Jews with a passion, embrace a former Israeli soldier as his brother? Why would an Israeli woman, whose son was brutally attacked, look at his assailants with forgiveness in her eyes? How is it possible that […]
The word whimsical” seems out of place when describing a story set against the backdrop of the Holocaust, yet the 1999 Paramount Classics film, “Train of Life” indeed is a whimsical treatment of a serious topic. In fact, there are many humorous scenes. The humor is not about Nazis or the Holocaust—but about life and […]