For many, the observance of Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, revolves around the two-minute siren sounded throughout the country at 10 o’clock in the morning and the Holocaust films — from Hollywood blockbusters to documentaries and testimonies — broadcast on television throughout the day.
At the Hebrew University film archive, movies have always been considered as relevant as books in documenting history, particularly with regard to the story of the State of Israel. Founded in 1969, the Mount Scopus-based archive — known since 1988 as the Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive after film director Spielberg helped fund the project — holds 18,000 titles, said Deborah Steinmetz, director of the archives.
Within those titles, there are more than 400 movies about the Holocaust, but the focus of the archive “isn’t the Holocaust, but Jewish life for everyone,” commented Steinmetz.
That said, the archive staff pulled out the following four films for Holocaust Remembrance Day, a mixture of testimony and history ranging from the war to the 1980s.
Hitler-Mussolini on the Eastern Front (1942) – A rare color movie shot by a German soldier stationed in Eastern Europe. The movie depicts soldiers on the front and documents a meeting between the two Fascist leaders.
Habricha (1947) – Jewish refugees escape Europe and journey to pre-state Palestine after the Holocaust.
Report on the Living (1947) – Holocaust survivors in Europe are rehabilitated by the Joint Distribution Committee.
A Bunch of Grapes (1985) – Child survivor Eveline Goodman-Thau talks about her personal experiences during the Holocaust, from her childhood in Vienna to the family’s escape to Holland.