Voices of Auschwitz
TV Review by Kam Williams
CNN Special Revisits the Liberation of Notorious Concentration Camp
While tracing his roots a year ago, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer learned for the first time that his paternal grandparents had perished at Auschwitz during the Second World War. That discovery made him a natural to host Voices of Auschwitz, a powerful documentary commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the infamous concentration camp.
Over one million Jews were murdered there at the hands of the Nazis, whether in the crematorium, by firing squad, as guinea pigs in experiments, or by other methods. This CNN special focuses on the reflections of a quartet of Auschwitz survivors, Renee Firestone, Martin Greenfield, Eva Kor, Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, members of an aging fraternity whose numbers are definitely dwindling. For that reason, it is important to hear how they not only miraculously managed to survive the ordeal, but went on to lead very productive lives after the war, despite losing most of their relatives.
Renee relates how upon arriving at Auschwitz, her mother was sent straight to the gas chamber, while she and her sister were sent into the prison where she bought time by offering her services as an aspiring fashion designer. Similarly, Martin worked as a tailor for the Gestapo, and was able to endure the bitter cold by sewing together scraps of discarded material.
Anita got a reprieve by playing the cello in a makeshift inmate orchestra, and eventually founded the English Chamber Orchestra. And Eva was only 10 years-old when her arm was branded “A-7063” at Auschwitz where she and her twin sister Miriam were subjected to torture on a daily basis at the hands of the diabolical Dr. Mengele.
Besides interviewing these survivors, Blitzer shares a tete-a-tete with film director Steven Spielberg, who credits shooting Schindler’s List and creating the Shoah Foundation for his renewal as a Jew. In sum, this moving memoir stands as a remarkable testament to the indomitability of the human spirit as well as a mighty reminder why the evils of the Holocaust must never be forgotten.
Excellent (4 stars)
Running time: 49 minutes
Voices of Auschwitz premieres on CNN on Wednesday, January 28th @ 9pm ET/PT (check your local listings)
To see a trailer for Voices of Auschwitz, visit: http://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2015/01/23/exp-promo-voices-of-auschwitz.cnn