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Watermarks is the story of the champion women swimmers of the legendary Jewish sports club, Hakoah Vienna. Hakoah ("The Strength" in Hebrew) was founded in 1909 in response to the notorious Aryan Paragraph, which forbade Austrian sports clubs from accepting Jewish athletes. Its founders were eager to popularize sport among a community renowned for such great minds as Freud, Mahler and Zweig, but traditionally alien to physical recreation. Hakoah rapidly grew into one of Europe's biggest athletic clubs, while achieving astonishing success in many diverse sports. In the 1930s Hakoah's best-known triumphs came from its women swimmers, who dominated national competitions in Austria. After the Anschluss, in 1938, the Nazis shut down the club, but the swimmers all managed to flee the country before the war broke out, thanks to an escape operation initiated by Hakoah's functionaries. Sixty-five years later, director Yaron Zilberman meets the members of the swimming team in their homes around... Written by
Affects the hearts strings, teaches, and inspires. Superb.
It was Holocaust Education Week here in south western Ontario, and my mother and I, gentiles with a strong love for the Jewish people, set out to the Princess Theatre to view the movie Watermarks. It demonstrated a raw beauty, that moved me to tears, made me laugh, and inspired me at the same time. It was impossible to watch this documentary and not be wrapped up in emotion, and easily develop an attachment to any one of the Hakoah swimmers and divers, who were now well into their eighties and making their way back to Austria from various places around the world in order to team once again for a dip into the pool. It is a story of love, respect, and survival amid painful and joyful memories. It taught much; the cinematography and research is first class, and I came home to tell my own children about the movie. Truly inspiring. Beautifully portrayed.
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