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Yad Vashem: Preserving the Past to Ensure the Future (1989)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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independent film | See All (1) »

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Documentary | Short

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Fascinating and incredibly moving documentary short about Yad Vashem
26 September 2015 | by (Tucson AZ) – See all my reviews

This was nominated for an Academy Award for Documentary Short, losing to The Johnstown Flood. There will be spoilers ahead:

It's hard to do this short justice in a comment like this, but I'll do my best. It's just a little over 14 minutes long, yet covers its subject rather well in such a brief time. Using a mix of archival footage, still photographs, modern film of Yad Vashem and interviews and film of visitors to the museum, this tells of the Yad Vashem memorial to the victims of the Holocaust.

Though Yad Vashem is covered pretty thoroughly, the principal focus of this is on the children who died during the Holocaust. Yad Vashem has a separate Children's Memorial in addition to its Hall of Remembrance and its Holocaust History Museum. There's also a Garden of the Righteous Among Nations, where gentiles who, at great personal risk, sought to help out Jews to try to save them. All of this is covered in the documentary.

But the heart of this is the remembrance of children. Throughout this, the narration includes the names, ages and origins of children, part of a reading of names which is continuous at the museum. It also includes readings of songs/poetry written by children in the camps. There's a point in this where the modern day footage shown on the screen over the words of a child who died makes for a heart-wrenching combination. I won't spoil it.

This is a magnificent piece of work, well worth tracking down. Most recommended.


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