December 31, 1908 -
- September 20, 2005
THE ART OF REMEMBRANCE - SIMON WIESENTHAL, which premiered at
the Human Rights International Film Festival in New York, and
was broadcast on WNET (Channel 13), NY in April 1998, is a powerful
documentary film on Simon Wiesenthal.
He is a Holocaust survivor who became one of the most important
Jewish humanitarians of the 20th century. Wiesenthal has devoted
his life to exposing the crimes of the Nazi regime, and bringing
to justice the individuals who committed "crimes against
Combining a halakhic and activist approach with the sensitivity
of a detective, Simon Wiesenthal collects information which he
presents to the appropriate authorities. The documentary film
is also a critical examination of Austria's politics since 1945.
Until recently Austria not only refused to face up to its Nazi
past, but since the 1970s there have been no trials against former
Nazi criminals in Austria.
The filmmakers, Hannah Heer and Werner Schmiedel, were given unprecedented
access to this pioneer of the human rights movement, despite his
hectic schedule, and spent ten years producing and filming this
non-fiction biography. They traveled with Wiesenthal to eight
different countries, including Holland, France, Sweden, Germany,
Austria, Ukraine, Israel, and the United States. The film traces
Wiesenthal's life from his childhood in Galicia, Eastern Europe,
through his ordeals in Nazi concentration camps to his post-war
dedication to keeping alive the memory of those who did not survive
the genocide. Wiesenthal's colleagues, friends -- and enemies
-- offer insights in numerous interviews, interwoven with innovative
visual and aural documentary techniques.
Accompanying extensive conversations with Wiesenthal himself are
interviews with U.S. Colonel Richard R. Seibel, liberator of the
Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria; Mark Weitzman of the
Simon Wiesenthal Center in New York; Raul Hilberg, professor of
Political Science at the University of Vermont, who was forced
by the Nazis to leave Austria in 1939; Paris-based Attorney Sylvie
Corrin-Zyss, whose father survived the death camp at Auschwitz;
and many others.
Using a color scheme that provides symbolic and psychological
dimensions and with an original soundtrack by renown composer
John Zorn, THE
ART OF REMEMBRANCE creates a vivid testimony of the legacy of
the Holocaust in a world still plagued by ethnic and racial conflicts.
"While we do not have the opportunity to alter the world
in a grand way, we all have plenty of opportunities to contribute
towards peace, to speak out against prejudice, racism and against
anti-Semitism. Therefore the opening sequence, which is the prologue
to our film, shows such an opportunity to speak out and to avoid
to be an 'accomplice by silence'." --Hannah Heer