25 March 2009

Film: Vienna's Lost Daughters panel, April 17

"Vienna's Lost Daughters" is a documentary following eight New York women who grew up Jewish in Vienna and who had to flee in 1938-39.

The film deals with the women as they attempt to create normality over time, illustrating how memory is manifested across generations. It is a sensitive study of the "survival guilt" over being torn from Austrian culture, showing the women's reminiscences of a happy childhood, how they managed to keep Vienna living on in New York, and the legacy they've passed on to their children and grandchildren.

On April 17, the eight women and the crew will participate in a post-screening discussion., while on April 19 - Holocaust Memorial Day - there will be a post-screening discussion. For more details, see the film's website.

See the film's website for more information. Click "The Women" to learn more about each of the women: Rosalie Berezow, Anita Nagel Weisbord, Hennie Edelman, Susanne Perl, Alice "Lizzy" Winkler, Susy Orne, Eva Franzi Yachnes and Dorit Bader Whiteman.

Perl is the mother of Jewish Genealogical Society of New York member Marty Perl, who wrote "A Family Journey Back to Vienna," in the society's spring 2007 issue of its excellent journal, Dorot.

Click here to learn more about their lives and the film, and to read the words of director Mirjam Unger. Here's an excerpt of what Unger wrote:

I was extremely grateful to meet Vienna’s lost daughters. They made it possible for me to comprehend the horror of what happened as if I had been there, and then they told and showed me how in spite of their losses and humiliations they found the strength and courage to proudly and with determination get a foothold on another continent, in a foreign country, in the strange city of New York, and grow old there with dignity.

Now that the script, shooting and editing are finished and I’ve returned to everyday life with my family and children and Jewish roots, I’ve noticed how much the women in the film gave me. The greatness of their gift becomes obvious in many little things. The fact that family is the most important thing in life. The fact that, no matter what happens, people will never stop hoping, cooking and laughing. The fact that morning will always come.

The fact that children and grandchildren wipe away history and erase guilt, just because they’re born later. The fact that, on the other hand, history’s passed on invisibly, and the next generation will deal with all the things the previous one didn’t or wasn’t able to. And the fact that everything’s a matter of luck, which doesn’t mean you have to sit back and passively watch it happen, “at least you have to keep trying...”
The Manhattan showing will run from April 17-23, at the Village East Cinema.

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