Holocaust Movies, Research Forum

Hilla Medalia on her film “Numbered”

IMG_4002Producer, Hilla Medalia, shared at a Research Forum about her film Numbered. The film is about survivors in Israel that still bear their numbers from Auschwitz. It’s focused on the effect of their numbers on a personal level and their relationship with their numbers. Some say they cannot remember their number, even though it’s tattooed on them, maybe they’re suppressing traumatic memories. Most agreed that they want to hide their number, as if their tattoo invited questions from strangers. One survivor said a cashier asked her about Auschwitz at the register in a grocery store. Another survivor said his number reminded him that he lived, so he never tried to hide it. When he got his tattoo he cried tears of joy, because it meant he would survive, those who went straight to the gas chambers were never numbered. Other said they cried because it took their humanity, their identity from them; it reduced them to just a number. In any event, all of those interviewed had their own story of how they felt about their tattoo.

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About 400,000 prisoners at Auschwitz were tattooed with numbers; only a few thousand are still alive. The film reminds us that the Holocaust factors daily into the lives of the survivors and their families. Whether it’s the survivor that’s hiding her number at the cash register, or the survivor answering questions from his grandchildren, their numbers are active players in a daily reminder of the Holocaust.

Medalia shared that on the day they filmed all of the survivors together, they started talking to each other to see if they met each other in the camp, or if they had mutual acquaintances. They compared their numbers and when they arrived at Auschwitz. They all wanted to relate to one another. Medalia doesn’t normally work with Holocaust films, the process of working on this film was significant and moving.


Interested in applying for our MA in Holocaust Studies Program?  You can find the application and more information at our website

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Research Forum

Director Arnon Goldfinger shares about his documentary “The Flat”

IMG_4001In a recent Research Forum, director, Arnon Goldfinger, shared about his 2011 documentary called The Flat. After his mother passed, Goldfinger and his siblings were charged with cleaning out her flat, where his grandparents, Gerda and Kurt Tuchler, also lived. They immigrated to Palestine in the 1930’s, fleeing from Nazi Germany. The film started as a sort of familial archive, but developed into a much larger story.

Goldfinger realized that the story unfolding was too significant to keep it for just the family archives. He said, looking through the lens of the camera he could seen the flat with new clarity and renewed focus. He decided to produce the film as a documentary, and see where it would take him. Without knowing where the content of the flat would lead him he focused on the question: What can you find out about people from the things they left behind?

Through a series of letters and photos, Goldfinger discovered a surprising relationship between his grandparents and Leopold von Mildenstein and his wife. Leopold von Mildenstein was the director of the Office for Jewish Affairs in Nazi Germany, he was succeeded by Adolf Eichmann. In the 1930’s, Mildenstein travelled to Palestine to assess viability in the country for hosting more Jews, he was accompanied by Goldfinger’s grandparents. Memorabilia, including photos, made Goldfinger confront this silenced family memory.

After the war, the Tuchler’s and Mildenstein’s continued their relationship, the Tuchler’s visited the Mildenstein’s in Germany often. In the film, Goldfinger follows his grandparent’s footsteps and visits with Mildenstein’s children. He goes on a journey examining the Holocaust and WWII memory through Israeli and German perspective as the descendents of these unlikely friends discuss their own experience and relationships with their respective families.

The film has won several awards including: Jerusalem Film Festival Award for Best Director of a Documentary, Bavarian Film Away for Best Documentary, and Tribeca Films Festival 2012 for Best Editing Documentary, among many others.

For more information on the film, and how to watch the film: Visit the website.


Interested in applying for our MA in Holocaust Studies Program?  You can find the application and more information at our website

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