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Hiding and Seeking: Faith and Tolerance After the Holocaust (2004)

7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 133 users   Metascore: 67/100
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Menachem Daum, the son of holocaust survivors, and a New York Orthodox Jew worries that both of his sons, full time yeshiva students who live with their families in Israel, are becoming ... See full summary »

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Title: Hiding and Seeking: Faith and Tolerance After the Holocaust (2004)

Hiding and Seeking: Faith and Tolerance After the Holocaust (2004) on IMDb 7.5/10

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Cast

Credited cast:
Akiva Daum ...
Himself
Menachem Daum ...
Himself
Rifka Daum ...
Herself
Tzvi Dovid Daum ...
Himself
Honorata Matuszezyk Mucha ...
Herself
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Storyline

Menachem Daum, the son of holocaust survivors, and a New York Orthodox Jew worries that both of his sons, full time yeshiva students who live with their families in Israel, are becoming seduced to intolerance by their religious studies. "All religions today are in danger of being hijacked by extremists." To open their perspectives just a little he sets off with his wife, Rifka, and both sons, Tzvi Dovid and Akiva, to visit the Polish towns where his parents grew up and to try to find the Catholic farmers who hid his father-in-law from the Germans. Enduring the bemused tolerance of his sons, Menachem persists until they find Honorata Matuszezyk Mucha who as a young woman brought food nightly to Rifka's father and his two brothers for 28 months until the end of World War II. The Daum sons perspectives widen a bit to allow for good Gentiles, but they also encounter some resentment from the Poles who heard no word from the three brothers after they left their hiding place, not even a ... Written by Maple-2

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Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

Unrated
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Details

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Release Date:

6 February 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hiding and Seeking  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$7,070 (USA) (13 February 2004)

Gross:

$51,091 (USA) (11 June 2004)
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Did You Know?

Connections

Featured in The 20th IFP Independent Spirit Awards (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

From This Day On
Written by Shlomo Carlebach
Performed by C. Lanzbom
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User Reviews

 
Immensely touching and filled with wisdom
28 August 2008 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

I happen to love documentaries and so it isn't surprising I would watch HIDING AND SEEKING. Sadly, as this isn't a super-popular genre, I wonder just how many people will get to see this touching film, as it has so much to offer and is so unique. While I have seen documentaries about Judaism as well as the Holocaust, this one offers some fresh perspectives and an angle that I'd never really considered.

Menachem Daub is the son of a Holocaust survivor and is himself an Orthodox Jew. However, he's concerned about his even more conservative sons who live in Israel and go to the Yeshiva for religious discussion and teaching. Despite their devout faith, Menachem can see that they tend to see the world in an "us versus them" mentality--that it's the world against the Jews. This distrust, he fears, will keep them isolated--not realizing that there are many good and just gentiles out there. So, to illustrate this point, he gets his sons to accompany him and his wife on a trip to Poland to search for information about those just gentiles who helped rescue their relatives from extermination during the Holocaust. It's pretty obvious that the sons don't feel much desire to make the trip and they actually seemed a bit smug about the whole thing--choosing to believe the worst about humanity.

Once they begin their quest, however, the picture changes quite unexpectedly. They are actually able to track down family members who saved Menachem's father-in-law and are very surprised at the response they receive. While they are welcomed by these dear elderly people, they feel pangs of guilt when these Poles ask them why the three brothers they rescued never wrote to them or helped compensate them for the money they spent hiding them for nearly two years--even though the young men promised. Now, instead of seeing the gentile world as wicked, you actually see that some of the survivors were less than noble themselves--especially the father-in-law who cannot bring himself to make this or a follow-up trip due to overwhelming feelings of guilt.

However, it's not all about guilt, as Menachem and his family feel an obligation to this Polish family. So, by the end, they make amends, to a degree, and do what they can to repay these people for their kindness. It's all extremely touching and will most likely make most people shed a tear or two. It's a wonderful portrait of humanity and decency. Sadly, the film didn't end on a perfect note, as the impact on Menachem's sons appears to be less than he'd hoped. Some may dislike this possibly unsatisfying ending, but to me it made the film because it felt so honest and realistic. It's tough for people to let go of hate and suspicion after they've lived with it for so long.

Within the film are so many touching moments that pack an emotional wallop. One of the most precious is Menachem's final scenes with his elderly father. The father appears to be well into his 90s, very infirmed, a bit senile and confined to a wheelchair in a nursing home. Despite his very frail condition, seeing him kissing his son and connecting was one of the most touching scenes I have ever witnessed on film. Additionally, the scenes involving his father-in-law were dynamite. The way he tried to dissuade Menachem from making the trip was confusing but once you understood the entire picture, these scenes became quite powerful.

A lovely film full of great moments that transcend ethnicity or religious background, this film should definitely be seen by more people. See it and tell your friends. Also, when reading the reviews, I was very impressed by Roland E. Zwick's--it really encapsulated the film well. Try giving it a read.

FYI--Menachem Daum's other film credit is the documentary A LIFE APART: HASIDISM IN America. I've seen this film and can also strongly recommend it. I sure hope Daum makes more films, as his style and skills are exceptional.


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