Presents Mon 6.17.2024

Always Remember: A New Six-Month Screening Focuses on Holocaust History That Must Not Be Forgotten

Film Independent is proud to partner with the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) and the Cayton-Goldrich Family Foundation on Always Remember, a new virtual screening series designed to raise Holocaust awareness through cinema. Each month from June through November, we’ll offer a selection of films designed to amplify unique voices and experiences relating to the Holocaust, highlighting LGBTQ+ stories, women’s perspectives, stories of resistance, youth experiences and more.

Titles featured include a mix of feature-length and short films, both animated and live action, fiction and nonfiction. Engaging, exclusive interviews with some of the series’ filmmakers will be included to help viewers dive even deeper into the material.

At a time when levels of antisemitism are on the rise, the simple edict to “Always Remember” is more important than ever.

Holocaust awareness is at an all-time low in the United States. It certainly doesn’t help that we are losing our last generation of survivors who were firsthand witnesses of the atrocities (and the World War fought to end them), leaving our future generations with few direct connections to the awful reality of events. And so, where that tether no longer exists, into the gap steps art. And especially film.

Here’s what to expect from the program:


Films: Dear Fredy (2017), Paragraph 175 (2000)

Directors: Rubi Gat (Dear Freddy); Jeffrey Friedman & Rob Epstein (Paragraph 175)

About: For Pride Month, Always Remember presents two stories of Jewish-queer intersectionality and the LGBTQ+ experience of the Holocaust. Dear Fredy tells the story of Fredy Hirsch, a proud homosexual Jew who ran a daycare center for 600 kids inside the walls of Auschwitz. Admired by his kids and fighting to retain their human dignity, Fredy’s death on the eve of a prisoner revolt has remained a mystery. In the Sundance-approved documentary Paragraph 175, historian Klaus Muller interviews survivors of the Nazi persecution of homosexuals resulting from the infamous Paragraph 175 from the German Penal Code of 1871.

What Critics Say: Of Paragraph 175, Mick LaSalle of The San Francisco Chronicle writes, “using interviews with the handful of survivors, intermixed with archival footage, the filmmakers create an exquisite and powerful documentary – one whose elegance only heightens its devastating impact.”


Films: Anna and the Egyptian Doctor (2022), Sevap/Mitzvah (2023)

Directors: Taliya Finke (Anna and the Egyptian Doctor), Sabina Vajrača (Sevap/Mitvah)

About: In July, disparate cultures come together to fight a common evil. Anna and the Egyptian Doctor tells the story of Mohamed Helmy, a man who risked his life caring for Jewish families in Berlin under the Third Reich. Eventually mentoring Anna, one of his patients, Dr. Helmy helps her and her family seek asylum and escape being sent to a concentration camp. In this inspiring story, Dr. Helmy’s nephew and Anna’s daughter come together to understand the sacrifices of their ancestry. Sevap/Mitzvah is inspired by the powerful true story of two women who become one another’s salvation. Set in 1941 Nazi-occupied Bosnia, a Muslim woman risks her life to save her Jewish friends. Fifty years later, during the Serb aggression on Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Jewish family returns the favor.

What Critics Say: Of Sevap/Mitzvah, Jennie Kermode of Eye for Film writes, “there is an additional potency to Sabina Vajraca’s latest work because of the time at which it has come to public attention as an Oscar-qualifying short, but it would be a remarkable piece of work under any circumstances.”


Films: When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit (2021), 263 Nights (2022)

Directors: Caroline Link (When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit), Irina Tarasova (263 Nights)

About: August focuses on the Holocaust as seen through the eyes of its youngest victims. In the feature When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, Anna is only nine-years-old in 1933 Berlin when her life changes from the ground up. To escape the Nazis, her father, a well-known Jewish journalist, must flee to Zurich. Anna leaves everything behind, including her beloved pink rabbit, and faces a new life full of challenges and privations abroad. Short 263 Nights tells the true-life story of the 26 prisoners of the Minsk ghetto, who voluntarily confined themselves in a basement – short of food and water – and waited for the Red Army to arrive to liberate them. Dobin, the youngest son of the stovemaker who built the basement, is still alive.

What Critics Say: Of When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post writes, “director Link brings handsome period production values and a lyrical, restrained sensibility to a narrative that might not qualify as riveting, but exerts its own unmistakable emotional pull.”


Films: Remember This (2023), Sabotage (2022)

Directors: Jeff Hutchens & Derek Goldman (Remember This), Noa Aharoni (Sabotage)

About: In September, as push comes to shove, it comes time to push back. In a virtuoso solo performance, Remember This finds Oscar nominee David Strathairn portraying Jan Karski in a genre-defying true story of a reluctant World War II hero and Holocaust witness. Escaping a Gestapo prison, bearing witness to the despair of the Warsaw ghetto and confronted by the inhumanity of a death camp, Karski endures unspeakable mental anguish and physical torture to stand tall in the halls of power and speak the truth. In the hybrid documentary Sabotage, four forced laborers – Estusia Wajcblum, Rosa Robota, Alla Gartner and Regina Safirstein – are hanged in public, accused of sabotaging the Nazi war machine. What unfolds is the unknown story of the women’s underground operation in Auschwitz-Birkenau; a story of feminine heroism, resistance and tragedy.

What Critics Say: Of Remember This, Michael Rechtshaffen of The Los Angeles Times writes, “the film is a crucial reminder of society’s duty to bear witness, especially whenever and wherever it would seem impossible to raise one’s voice above the din of indifference.”


Films: Love It Was Not (2020), additional film TBA

Directors: Maya Sarfaty (Love It Was Not)

About: In October, we ask, what do you do after your world shatters? Love It Was Not is a fascinating and complex story about a Jewish prisoner who caught the attention of an SS guard. Flamboyant and full of life, Helena is taken to Auschwitz as a young woman. Franz Wünsch, a high-ranking SS officer, falls in love with her and her magnetic singing voice. Defying any conventional romantic simplification, this is no story of star-crossed lovers. Instead, the film examines the idea of unimaginable choices and the boundaries of compassion. When a letter arrives from Wünsch’s wife 30 years later begging Helena to testify on his behalf, she’s faced with an impossible decision: will she help the man who brutalized so many lives, but saved hers?

What Critics Say: Alissa Simon of Variety writes, “the result of long years of research, Love It Was Not is remarkable not only for its unusual central story and unique creative execution, but also for its extensive eyewitness testimonies.”


Always Remember concludes in November with a reminder that, while this particular screening series has come to an end, the remembrance and memorialization of Holocaust victims, heroes and survivors continues on. Short films include:

Anyuka (dir. Maya Erdelyi, 2023)

Jack and Sam (dir. Jordan Horowitz, 2023)

116 Cameras (dir. Davina Pardo, 2017)

The Anne Frank Gift Shop (dir. Mickey Rapkin, 2023)

Death Metal Grandma (dir. Leah Galant, 2018)

Additional films TBA

For more information on Always Remember, please see our website.

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(Header: 263 Nights)