Thursday, September 6, 2007

I Have Never Forgotten You DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Documentary on DVD Revisits Legacy of Nazi Hunter Simon Wiesenthal

Simon Wiesenthal (1908-2005) was born and raised in Buczacz in the Ukraine. After graduating from college in 1936, he married his wife, Cyla, and they moved to L’viv where he would embark on a successful career as an architectural engineer.
However, because they were Jewish, the couple came to suffer from the anti-Semitic persecution which accompanied the rise of Hitler. Since she had blonde hair and green eyes, Cyla left her husband and assumed a Gentile identity to try to avoid being arrested when the Nazis arrived.
In 1941, Simon was seized by the Gestapo and carted off to Auschwitz, Buchenwald and numerous other concentration camps. And though 89 of his relatives would be among the millions who perished in the Holocaust, he somehow miraculously survived.
He and Cyla reunited after the war, and they would enjoy the arrival of their only child, Pauline, in 1946. Still, Simon was so scarred by his experiences that he decided to dedicate his life to bringing the perpetrators of the ethnic cleansing to justice.
I Have Never Forgotten You is a moving bio-pic which pays tribute to Wiesenthal’s tireless efforts, which began when he assisted in the prosecution of Nazi War Criminals. He would remain committed to that endeavor long after the rest of the world had opted to forget about the genocide.
Undoubtedly this documentary’s most touching moments arrive during Pauline’s heartfelt reminiscences about her childhood, such as when she recounts asking her father, “Why don’t we have any relatives? How can that be?” She goes on to recount a very lonely and frightening childhood in Austria, marked by ostracism, being spat upon in public, and having their home firebombed by neo-Nazis, since the government never offered them any police protection.
As the curtain comes down, an aged Wiesenthal plays down any praise for his efforts with tears in his eyes, saying simply “I do not feel like a hero. In 50 years, I have not forgotten, not ever for a single day, that I am a survivor.” An overdue testament to a one-man six-million man march in memory of all those who no longer had a voice.

Excellent (4 stars)
In German and English with subtitles.
Running time: 105 minutes

Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment

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