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SIMON WIESENTHAL
December 31, 1908 -
- September 20, 2005

THE FILM

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 humanity".
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


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