Many summers ago, I was visiting a friend in the beautiful rocky village of Roccagorga, Italy. Her husband, a local, told me that in the same café where we were sat sipping espresso, he’d met a man who said he was an “Ebreo” and had walked to Italy from Sobibor after the uprising. The story may have been apocryphal, but since then I’ve wanted to learn more about the uprising, which until that moment I’d never heard of.
Thanks to the Alexander Pechersky’s Memory Foundation, I had the opportunity this past weekend to preview “Sobibor,” a Russian-language film adaptation of the uprising. It is a powerful and brutal film that succeeds in conveying, equally, hope and hopelessness right to the very end.
For some reason the Sobibor uprising has never received the attention it deserves. This film goes a long way to putting that right, highlighting the bravery, sacrifice, infighting and socio-cultural divisions that all played a role. It also doesn’t shy away from the utter brutality of the Nazi regime.
Place it in the context of a current trial of a nonagenarian former SS guard at the Stutthof camp. The head of the Central Office for the Investigation of Nazi Crimes in Ludwigsburg, Germany, Jens Rommel, told Deutsche Welle that it isn’t necessary to prove someone’s direct involvement in individual murders. “The charges assume that they supported systematic murders in a concentration camp by being a part of the camp personnel,” he said.
Indeed, “Sobibor” portrays how intimately the “accountants” and “guards” were involved with the genocide of the Jewish people, even if they didn’t actually flip the switch or pull the trigger.
“Sobibor” is scheduled to receive its cinematic release in early 2019. It will screen Feb. 7, 7:45 p.m., at the Denver Jewish Film Festival.
Shana Goldberg may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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