Triumph of the Spirit (1989)

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Fact based story about a former Greek Olympic boxer who was taken as a prisoner during World war II and placed in the Auschwitz prison camp. There he was permitted to survive as long as he ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Father Arouch
Wendy Gazelle ...
Avram Arouch
Kario Salem ...
Edward Zentara ...
Maj. Rauscher
Burkhard Heyl ...
Aide to Rauscher
Zofia Saretok ...
Grazyna Krukówna ...
Sister Julie
Karolina Twardowska ...
Juranda Krol ...
Wiktor Mlynarczyk ...


Fact based story about a former Greek Olympic boxer who was taken as a prisoner during World war II and placed in the Auschwitz prison camp. There he was permitted to survive as long as he fought for the amusement of his captors. His father and brother were also held as insurance that he would continue to fight. Written by John Sacksteder <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

prisoner | fight | prison | boxer | greek | See All (138) »


R | See all certifications »





Release Date:

23 December 1989 (South Korea)  »

Also Known As:

A pokol bajnoka  »

Box Office


$408,839 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


| (archive footage)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Shortly after the film's release, Jacques "Jacko" Razona, a Jewish boxer from Salonika, sued the real life Salamo Arouch and the producers for $20,000,000 (US). Razona claimed that they had stolen his story, and that Arouch had grossly exaggerated his exploits. The case was later settled out of court. See more »


In the movie, Salamo Arouch was depicted as having married "Allegra" shortly before being sent to Auschwitz. In reality, Arouch met her for the first time after they had both been liberated from Auschwitz in 1945 and were subsequently married. Furthermore, "Allegra" was a name used by the writers for artistic reasons, his wife's real name was Marta Yechiel. See more »


Gypsy: Listen, I'm only going to say this once. For those who can hear me tell the rest. First come the SS, our lord and masters. Then comes our block health manager, Kyr. Then come the assistants, Otto and me. Then come the rats. Then come the lice... and then come you.
See more »


Featured in The Making of 'Triumph of the Spirit' (1990) See more »

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User Reviews

Hang on to your hats
3 March 2007 | by (Berkeley) – See all my reviews

The events depicted in the movie are well documented in historical accounts of the concentration camp experience, and according to these accounts they are not overstated in this film. Director Robert M. Young's background in making documentaries makes this docu-drama all that much more devastating. This is the holocaust, without frills, humor, or preaching. It is what it is. I wonder about other comments criticizing the film because it is too depressing. Gee, sorry if the holocaust ruined your evening. If you don't think you can take the raw experience, don't watch the film. Of course it is depressing, more than that. However, having watched it, I can say I can better understand and appreciate the creation of the state of Israel after the war. Mr. Young did an excellent job of film making on an extremely sensitive topic. Incidentally, he was co-writer on one of my all time favorite films, a 1964 low budget black and white gem, "Nothing But a Man." Also a sleeper which received extensive critical praise but not much exposure, I believe it to be hands down the best film depicting the black experience in America, particularly southern blacks in early 1960's at the apex of the civil rights movement. See my review on this site. Don't miss it.

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