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Holocaust Documentary Films in Leavey Library (DVDs): Former Soviet Union

Former Soviet Union


The Bielski Brothers: Jerusalem in the Woods
"Describes the actions of Tuvia, Asael, and Zus Bielski during World War II. The three brothers, living in the Soviet Republic of Belorussia, built an elaborate village for rescued Jews. The forest haven included a bakery, communal bath, synagogue, and even a theater company. Although they mounted guerrilla attacks against the enemy, their priority was saving their people, eventually rescuing 1,200 men, women and children."

Einsatzgruppen: The Death Brigades
"In June 1941, Nazi mobile killing squads, led by highly-educated officers known as the Einsatzgruppen were dispatched thoughout Eastern Europe and Russia. By the Spring of 1943, the 3000 members of the Einsatzgruppen--aided by local collaborators in each country--had systematically murdered 15 million Jews, Roma, handicapped, partisans and Soviets."

Fading Traces: Postscripts from a Landscape of Memory
"The western Ukraine was once home to the largest Jewish community that ever existed. Five million Jews living there had a rich culture, with extensive music and a thriving Yiddish theater. All this disappeared with the German invasion of Russia in 1941 and the tragic events of the Holocaust. This documentary artfully weaves the words of writers such as Rose Auslander, Isaak Babel, Martin Buber and David Kahane with the memories of those still living to re-present the culture of Ukrainian Jews."

The Kalusz I Thought I Knew
"In this first person narrative, filmmaker Bernard Dichek explores the hometown in Poland that his father never returned to after surviving the war. But his stories about Kalusz filled his childhood. And after he died, Dichek decides to search for his house. He meets Tanya, a young Jewish woman who knows little about the town's Jewish history, and his search becomes her search. A cast of comic and tragic characters--a beer production manager, a rabbi, Ukrainian farmers and a fisherman's children--provide clues about the past."

Der letzte Jude von Drohobytsch = The Last Jew from Drohobych
"Alfred Schreyer will tell you he's the only surviving pre-WWII Jewish resident in Drohobych, Ukraine. He's likely right. Schreyer was a student of the eminent Polish writer, Bruno Schulz, in the 1930s, survived the forced labor and concentration camps of the Nazi occupation and became a singer and violinist in the local Cinema Lobby Orchestra, a truly unique Soviet tradition in cinema culture. With his life story chronicling a century of resilience triumphing over tragedy in Drohobych, Alfred Schreyer is living history."

The Lost Town
"About one man's search for his deceased father from Trochenbrod, Western Ukraine, obliterated by the Nazis except for 33 people who escaped."

Mamaliga Blues: A  Family Road Movie by Cassio Tolpolar
"...a Jewish family goes on a journey from Brazil to Moldova in search of distant relatives and a lost grave. The trip takes them on an exploration of Eastern European Jewish history and the Holocaust"

"Documentary film of Alex Kurzem who at 5 years old, was found by Latvian soldiers during World War II and made their mascot. Fifty years later, events lead him back to Europe to rediscover his past."

No Place on Earth
"In October 1942, Esther Stermer, the matriarch of a Jewish family in the Ukraine, leads her family underground to hide from the pursuing Nazis and stays nearly a year and a half. Their harrowing story of survival living in near total darkness in two cold, damp caves is one like no other ever told."

Shoah by Bullet: The Forgotten History 
"Based on the research and contributions by Father Patrick Desbois. Presents interviews with eyewitnesses of the Holocaust in the
Ukraine, during World War II."

Sorella, A  Child of the Shoah
"Starting from a simple photograph showing four women and a young girl before execution by the Nazis, this exceptional documentary traces in detail a little-known episode of the Holocaust in Latvia. It is on a beautiful white sandy beach on the Baltic Sea that 2772 Jews, including many women and children were executed by bullets and dumped in mass graves in December 1941. Who was Sorella, whose photo is on display at the Jewish Museum in Riga, the Latvian capital? No one can say with absolute certainty but as the film delves into the mystery of this 10 year old girl, we get a better understanding of the historical context that led to the annihilation of the Jewish communities of Eastern Europe. And failing to formally identify Sorella, who in the photo seems to hide her face, the film turns this nameless shadow from another era into the incarnation of millions of victims of intolerance

Surviving History
"Presents the life stories of seven individuals who survived the Holocaust in Lithuania, where ninety-five percent of the 240,000-strong pre-war Jewish population was annihilated, many at the hands of Lithuanian shooters. The narrators represent a rapidly diminishing community. Today, approximately 2,800 Jews live in what was once known as the 'Jerusalem of the North.' Of this number, there are only one hundred and six ghetto and camp survivors and less than one hundred former partisans and soldie rs. In most cases, they are the lone survivors among extended families of over one hundred people to have come through alive. Even today, more than sixty years on from the atrocities, as Vilnius takes on the role of European capitol of culture, these individuals face horrific echoes of the past: a recent Neo-Nazi march through the city, the Jewish community center defaced, last August, by images of Swastikas, smokestacks and gallows, a palpable surge in Anti-Semitic rhetoricThe film explores their stories, taking us into the heart of their memories, but it also looks at the specific time and place in which we encounter them and discovers that which is meaningful to them today. Juxtaposing the historical and the contemporary, the private and the personal, it offers a lyrical, poetic, and, at once, harrowing journey through the core of Lithuanian Jewish life."

Tovarisch: I Am Not Dead
"A documentary about the life of Garri Urban during the Holocaust in Russia and Ukraine."

Subject Guide

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John Juricek
Grand Library CAL 205
3434 South Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90089
(213) 740-2931