Skip to Main Content

Holocaust Documentary Films in Leavey Library (DVDs): Survivors


"A moving meditation on guilt and reconciliation, Bloodlines explores the unwritten cost of war and genocide on future generations of both victims and perpetrators. As Bettina Goering, grandniece of Nazi war criminal Herman Goering, searches for a way to come to terms with her heritage, she finds Ruth Rich, a painter and daughter of Holocaust survivors. With astonishing honesty and courage, both women attempt to reconcile the traumas in their bloodlines. Interspersed with individual interviews, powerful images from Ruth's paintings, archival photos, and scenes from their every day lives in Santa Fe, Australia and Berlin are the heart-wrenching and ultimately healing meetings between Goering and Rich. At a time when seemingly irreconcilable divisions between groups are tearing the world apart, this deeply hopeful film is a beautiful testament to the power of dialogue and post-conflict reconciliation."

Child in Two Worlds: A Trilogy on Jewish War Orphans
"In an effort to give their children a chance at life, many Jewish parents sent their children into hiding in Christian foster homes during World War II. This film focuses on five Jewish war orphans, now all in their fifties and sixties, how they survived the war, and how they all eventually returned to their roots."

Children of the War
"This film tells the story of children during the Holocaust, some hidden and some survivors of concentration camps and their post-war traumatic experiences. A gripping account of 8 orphan child survivors...."

Destination Unknown
"...blends intimate testimony with immersive archive to bring the stories of twelve Holocaust survivors to the screen. The film creates a seamless mosaic of first-hand accounts, rare archive from the time, and family Super 8 footage from after the war. The survivors share their memories, some for the first time, some for the last, bringing their experiences to a new generation. They endured the death camps. They hid in remote farms. They fought as partisans in Polish forests. But when the war ended, those survivors' struggles were only just beginning...

Elie Wiesel: First Person Singular
"Nobel peace prize laureate Elie Wiesel reflects upon his life, his work and his concerns for the future of mankind."

Elie Wiesel Goes Home
"Elie Wiesel returns to the village of his birth and to Auschwitz and Birkenau, the camps where he was interned during WWII."

Exodus 1947: The Ship That Launched a Nation
"After WWII, a group of private American citizens banded together in a clandestine effort to transport Holocaust survivors to Palestine. The British, who governed Palestine at the time, were determined to keep them out."

Four Seasons Lodge
"The documentary follows a group of aging Holocaust survivors during what may be their last summer together at a compound in the Catskill Mountains of New York. For twenty-five years they have spent the long summer days in the company of others who understand their pasts and their pain."

La-ḥazor ṿeli-ḥeyot = Return to Life
"Five Holocaust survivors remember what life was like for them after liberation-their despair, emotional reawakening, life in the refugee camps, the desire to go to Palestine and the hardships they faced in building a new life once they arrived in Palestine."

Havana Curveball
"Mica is a classic young teen. Enthusiastic. Idealistic. Dreaming baseball. At 13, he is studying for his Bar Mitzvah, the Jewish coming of age ritual. He takes to heart his Rabbi's requirement to help "heal the world." Imagining himself a savior of sorts, he launches a grand plan to send baseballs to less fortunate kids in Latin America. Narrowing his focus, he lights on Cuba, a country with a mysterious pull. He knows only that Cubans lack resources and love baseball like he does. Many of their star players have defected to play in the U.S. professional leagues. He also knows that Cuba gave his grandpa refuge during the Holocaust."

"This film uses personal narration, dramatic recreation, and documentary footage to tell the life story of Ingelore Herz Honigstein, a deaf German Jew who survived the Holocaust.."

Jealous of the Birds
"After WWII some 15,000 survivors of the Holocaust remained in Germany, despite the tension and paranoia of living in the society of their persecutors. Among them were my grandparents. How could they stay?"

Joe's Violin
"A 91-year-old Holocaust survivor donates his violin to an instrument drive, changing the life of a 12-year-old schoolgirl from the Bronx and unexpectedly, his own."

The Last Sea, 1945-1948
"When survivors of the Holocaust realized they had neither a home to return to nor families to welcome them, thousands set out on a journey to Israel. These travelers tell their stories of survival and redemption, as they travelled by truck, train, ship, or foot."

Long Shadows: Stories from a Jewish Home
"Three stories of aging survivors of the Holocaust at an old-age facility in Melbourne."

Marion's Triumph: Surviving History's Nightmare
"A documentary film depicting the life experiences of Marion Blumenthal-Lazan and her family in Germany just prior to the Nuremberg laws and then following her through several of Hitler's concentration camps. Using documentary footage, artwork, and Lazan's narration the film shows the realities of the Holocaust, and reveals the determination, hope, and spirit that have helped her family survive their experience."

Moʻadon bet ha-ḳevarot = The Cemetary Club
"10 o'clock, Saturday morning. A group of elderly women and men carry plastic lawn chairs across the Mount Herzl National Cemetery in Jerusalem. In the shade of an old pine tree, they sit down, in a circle and discuss matters sublime and elevated. For over two decades, the "Mt. Herzl Academy" has held its weekly meeting at this cemetery. Seated between the graves of the nation's dignitaries, they debate the history of modern philosophy, read poetry, eat lunch and determine the fate of the Jewish nation."

Multiply by Six Million: Portraits and Stories of Holocaust Survivors
"The film unites three powerful elements. Central are classic black and white portraits of survivors, created by photographer and filmmaker Evvy Eisen. Survivors' stories are told in sections: Destruction and Loss, Lives Rebuilt and Reflections. Their emotion filled voices recount memories of the separation from family, the horror of the cattle car journey, the selection where it was decided if they were fit to work or condemned to die. A haunting solo piano score composed and performed by Nicole Milner, a survivor, unites the visual and spoken threads. This blending of original narrative, photographs, and music portray memorable images of human courage, stamina and creativity born of the most desperate circumstances."

My Mother, the Nazi Midwife, and Me.
"Gina Roitman's parents met and married in the Pocking-Waldstadt Displaced Persons (DP) Camp just outside Passau, Germany. In this documentary, Roitman starts out on a journey to learn more about her parents' history, and unearths a chilling story about the systematic murder of Jewish infants in the camp durng 1946-1947."

"The story of an Auschwitz survivor who spent her life fighting intolerance. Born in Poland, Maryla Michalowski-Dyamant survived Ravensbruck, Malchow and Auschwitz, where she was the forced translator for the 'Angel of Death,' Josef Mengele. Maryla dedicated her life after the war to publicly speaking about her survival to younger generations."

Never Forget to Lie
"Marian Marzynski tells the story of how he as a Jewish boy escaped the Holocaust, hiding from the Nazis, and surviving the war as an altar boy in a Catholic monastery. He conveys the poignant, painful recollections of other child survivors, many of whom are visiting scenes of their childhood for the last time."

No Home Movie
"Chantal Akerman's final film is a portrait of her relationship with her mother Natalia, a Holocaust survivor and familiar presence in many of her daughter's films."

 Oma & Bella
" an intimate glimpse into the life of two dynamic elderly Jewish women in Berlin. The film follows them as [they] make elaborate dishes recalled from their childhoods, before the Holocaust. Through the cooking of the sumptuous meals, they retain a part of their past past while remaining very much engaged in the present." - IMDb website.

One Survivor Remembers
"Through a series of interviews, photographs and footage shot in the actual locations of her memories, Gerda Weissmann Klein takes us on her journey of survival of the Holocaust. Also includes Gerda Klein's Academy Award acceptance speech."

Out of Faith
"...follows three generations of a family torn apart by interfaith marriage. The family's matriarch, Leah, and her husband, Eliezer, survived Auschwitz nearly three years ; however, in their minds, their grandchildren marrying non-Jews represents a posthumous victory for Hitler. Out of Faith examines the complex and emotionally charged issues surrounding assimilation and interfaith marriage."

Pola's March
"Moving first person accounts of Jewish concentration camp survivors as they return after many years absence to their hometowns in Europe and Poland and tour concentration camps where Jews were confined and killed."

Prisoner of Her Past: Battling Late-Onset Post-Taumatic Stress Disorder
"February 15, 2001: Skokie, Illinois. An elderly woman named Sonia Reich flees her home, insisting that someone is trying to kill her. It will take a year for her son, Chicago Tribune reporter Howard Reich, to understand the cause of her delusions - not Alzheimer's, not dementia, but post-traumatic stress disorder. Howard locates and confers with the few experts in the world who can explain the obscure phenomenon of late-onset PTSD. He also travels to the Ukrainian city where Sonia was born - and barely escaped Nazi atrocities - to uncover the horrors that now haunt his mother. Finally, Howard ventures beyond Sonia's story to ask what can be done for today's traumatized young people, such as victims of Hurricane Katrina, to give them a fighting chance at avoiding Sonia's fate decades from now."

Rafting to Bombay
"While filming his father revisiting his childhood city of Mumbai, India, Israeli director Erez Laufer finds himself caught in the worst terror attack in the history of the city. As the drama of the terrorist takeover of Chabad House in Mumbai unfolds, the Laufer family recounts how they found refuge there in the 1940s after fleeing the Nazis. Past and present collide as the family history is echoed in a contemporary war, and a little-known story emerges of the Jewish refugees who found a safe haven in Mumbai during World War II."

Red Trees
"Traces a family's journey as one of only twelve Jewish families to survive the Nazi occupation of Prague during World War II. Marina Willer's exploration of today's refugee crisis, mirrored in the story of her own family. It is a story that circles between Europe and Latin America; just one example of the cultural and racial richness of a world in which migration is a fact of life. Marina is a designer, film maker and partner at an internationally renowned design agency. She tells the story of her father and her grandfather and how theirs was one of only twelve Jewish families to survive the Nazi occupation of Prague during World War Two. At the war's end, they fled from Czechoslovakia to a new life in Brazil, where her father Alfred Willer grew to become a successful and influential architect."

See You Soon Again
"Do people still want to hear stories about the Holocaust? This question plagues Leo Bretholz, a Holocaust survivor who has recounted his story to thousands of public school students. See You Soon Again is a singular film about the weight of history, about how hard it is to tell a story of unspeakable suffering, and how impossible it is not to. As a child, Leo Bretholz survived the Holocaust by escaping from the Nazis (and others) not once, but seven times. Between 1938 and 1945 he hid in attics, outran police, escaped from prisons, and joined the Compagnons De France under the false name of Max Henri Lefevre. On November 6, 1942 he did something unprecedented: he jumped from train no. 42 from the French prison camp Drancy to Auschwitz, where he would have been killed the very same day of his arrival together with all but five of the 1000 deportees on that train..."

Stronger Than Fire: The Eva Olsson story
"Describes the various forms of discrimination encountered by Eva Ollson: during the Holocaust, because she was a Jew; then as an immigrant, a widow, and a single mother in Canada. Also included is the discrimination faced by her from her relatives because she married outside her religion."

The Suicide of a Camp Survivor: The Case of Primo Levi
"Story of Primo Levi, an Italian Jew who survived confinement in a German concentration camp during World War II and then wrote about his experiences. Interviews with those who knew him."

Till the Tenth Generation
"The first major documentary about the Holocaust made in Ireland ... tells the story of Dublin resident Tomi Reichental, who for nearly 60 years remained silent about his boyhood in Bergen-Belsen. One of three remaining Holocaust survivors in Ireland, Tomi travels back to Slovakia with veteran filmmaker Gerry Gregg to recall the life, and death, of Slovakia's Jews."

Undying Love: A Collection of Love Stories
"Recounting stories of love and loss among Holocaust survivors in displaced persons camps, the director explores the healing power of love."

An Unknown Country: The Jewish Refugees of Ecuador
"Tells the story of European Jews who escaped Nazi persecution to find refuge in an unlikely destination: Ecuador, a South American republic barely known at the time. Featuring first hand accounts and archival material, the film follows the exiles' perilous escape and difficult adjustment as they remade their lives in what was for them an exotic, unfamiliar land."

We Were So Beloved: The German Jews of Washington Heights
"Documentary examines the experiences of Jewish refugees who settled in Washington Heights, New York, after fleeing Germany in the 1930s."

When People Die They Sing Songs
" a story of mother and daughter who resolve to uncover their wartime past buried half a century ago. After suffering a stroke, 93-year-old Holocaust survivor Regina is getting music therapy. Accompanied by music therapist, Regina sings Yiddish and French songs of her youth. Her daughter Sonia is with her at every session. This revitalizes their mother-daughter relationship and emboldens them to revisit their past. With Regina's help, Sonia tries to capture their family story. The past they were so eager to forget they are now anxious to remember. But Regina's memory is rapidly succumbing to dementia."

Subject Guide

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