Director apologizes for Holocaust statement about Hasidic Jews

Heidi Ewing said ultra-Orthodox Jews in Europe were killed by Nazis partly because they refused to ‘blend in’

Rachel Grady, left, and Heidi Ewing, filmmakers behind 'One of Us.' (Courtesy Netflix)
Rachel Grady, left, and Heidi Ewing, filmmakers behind 'One of Us.' (Courtesy Netflix)

A director of a new Netflix documentary about Hasidic Jews who leave their communities apologized for making inaccurate statements about the Holocaust concerning Hasidim.

Heidi Ewing in an interview late last week on “The Charlie Rose Show” on PBS said the majority of Hasidic Jews in Europe were killed in the Holocaust partly because they refused to “blend in.”

“They kept wearing the clothing,” Ewing, who co-directed “One of Us” with Rachel Grady, told guest host Jeff Glor. “They sort of were loud and proud about their identity, and the vast majority died in the Holocaust.”

In fact, the Nazis targeted all Jews, including those who were assimilated.

Ewing posted a statement apologizing on her Loki Films website.

“I am sorry if my words on Charlie Rose caused any pain and would like to clarify their meaning,” she said. “The devastating losses that the Jewish community suffered at the hands of the Nazis is unspeakable. Almost half the population of world Jewry was destroyed by the Nazis and their collaborators, whole communities destroyed. In the midst of this sweeping genocide, Hasidic Jews suffered disproportionate losses during the Holocaust partially because they were more easily identified and therefore had more difficulty hiding. This has been documented by multiple historians. It took great courage for Hasidic Jews at that time to refuse to change their appearance to look more like the general European public. I am only filled with respect and admiration for any person who chooses to live their own truth.”

“One of Us” premiered Friday on Netflix.

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