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Friday, 22 February 2013

The Holocaust and my Father: Six Million and One

Six million and one is a documentary about the journey taken by the children of a Jewish holocaust survivor to the place where their father had been imprisoned. I saw it last night and it was quite amazing.

It wasn't the statistics or the horror that shone through  but the easy, cathartic way that the past reasserted itself in so many different ways, in the land, in the housing, in the relationships between the brothers and sisters who remembered what their father had been through and how he had survived, or how his soul survived, in a place where the life expectancy of prisoners was a week - Joseph Fisher, the father, lasted 10 months and wrote about his experience in a memoir that his children discovered after his death.

Fishers sons and daughter go to Austria and visit the concentration camp where he had been imprisoned. It was a small camp and now there is housing built on its land - pictures were overlaid (it reminded me of Shimon Atlie's holocaust projections) onto the contemporary film, and residents talked about how it felt to live there  - and have visitors make audio tours around their neighbourhood.

Family, beauty, winter and depth all combined as did the regrets about what their father had experienced and how this had effected the children and their respective relationships both to their father and each other. How the memory lived on in them also featured in their conversations (it was a very conversational film, which could be a bad thing in less emotionally literate and light-hearted - if that's the right phrase to use - people), so history and trauma was made personal. We saw how the horrors of the past can be passed down from generation and how they can traumatise individuals, families and ultimately nations.

See the movie here if you are in the UK.

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