Following the sudden death of their long-term and much-too-depended-upon Jewish counsellor, a couple in their 50s take a chaotic stab at rebalancing their relationship, while grappling with their own mortality.
The young Jewish Austrian businessman Victor is a witness to how the prosecution of a Nazi crime perpetrated against his family unjustly fails in the courtroom. The political and legal system in 1960’s Austria is still run by former Nazis and there is no avenue for Victor to change matters.. When Victor also loses his grief stricken father and his girlfriend”s family opposes their relationship and his being Jewish, Victor completely loses faith in the system and pursues matters via a different path.
Jewish humor has travelled from the Shtetl to Hollywood, from the Torah to Comic books. Jewish humor is tradition and pop culture – and also a cliché? Especially in Germany and Austria, Jewish jokes became very popular after the Second World War. Jewish humor is, allegedly, self-ironic – and laughing about the Jews together with the Jews seems like a convenient way for the perpetrator countries to cope with their dark pasts. But is Jewish humor really always self-mocking – or is the matter more complex? In the documentary, rabbis, comedians and writers from Germany, Austria, France and Israel have their say. Who owns Jewish humour – and who owns the laughter?
“Who Are the Marcuses?” reconstructs the lives of Holocaust refugees Lottie and Howard Marcus, an unassuming couple from Great Neck, New York, who retired to a modest two-bedroom apartment in San Diego, California. Former dentist Howard passed away in 2014 at age 104. Lottie passed less than two years later. In 2016, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev announced the Marcuses had given them over half a billion dollars: the largest single charitable donation to the State of Israel in its history. The film simultaneously traces the development of Israel’s vital water technology from pre-state to the present; how the Marcuses” endowment to BGU has ensured its continued leading-edge development in this science for not only the Israeli people, but the world as a whole; sets the family’s gift in geopolitical context; and explores both its impact and implications for regional peace through technology exchange.
An animated documentary from Humanity in Action, Voices in the Void recounts the remarkable ”Danish Exception” of October 1943. The piece features the story of late Rabbi Bent Melchior, who, as a teenager went into hiding with his family to escape Nazi deportation. In his own words, Rabbi Melchior tells a story of heroism and survival, and of the regular Danish people who took exceptional steps to save their neighbors and ensure their safe escape to Sweden.
In the midst of the Covid pandemic, and employing WhatsApp calls, interviews, and Internet research, a New Zealand-based director seeks to better understand a significant experience in her mother’s past. In 1946, three young Jewish teenagers had met at the Ben Shemen school, in Palestine. Each had been traumatised by the Holocaust and World War II. These women, now in their late eighties – one of whom is the director’s mother – recount the ways in which Ben Shemen offered a healing and soul-nourishing refuge. Mixed-media and an animated sketchbook aesthetic, together with the collaging of fragments of music and sound, accompany their retrieval of memories, and the director’s efforts to understand their experiences.
Two Trees in Jerusalem, an animated documentary produced by Humanity in Action, profiles the remarkable history of Eberhard and Donata Helmrich, who together saved the lives of countless Jews during the Holocaust. The pair worked as a husband-and-wife team in the eye of the storm, in Berlin and the blood-soaked fields of Eastern Europe, devising ever-more daring gambits to save any life they could, even as death surrounded them. The history is narrated by the couple’s daughter Cornelia, who was called into her parents’ confidence as a young child, and was imbued with an inner-strength that guided her work decades later as a politician and Commissioner for immigrant and refugee issues during the 1990’s.