After Auschwitz
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ABOUT THE FILM

You’re free. Go home.

Most Holocaust films end with these words, the very words that survivors heard at liberation. But After Auschwitz is not a typical “Holocaust” film. It begins with these words, inviting audiences to experience what happened next. In watching the struggles of survival, the audience feels a searing connection to our current political climate, as history teaches us the vital role humanity plays in our hopes for greater understanding and compassion.

To an American, liberation sounds like it should have been a great day. For survivors, liberation from the camps was the beginning of a life long struggle. They wanted to go home, but there was no home left in Europe. They came to America and wanted to tell people about their pasts but were silenced for over three decades. “You’re in America now, put it behind you”.

After Auschwitz is a “Post-Holocaust” documentary that follows six extraordinary women, capturing what it means to move from tragedy and trauma towards life. These women all moved to Los Angeles, married, raised children and became “Americans” but they never truly found a place to call home. What makes the story so much more fascinating is how these women saw, interpreted and interacted with the changing face of America in the second half of the 20th century. They serve as our guides on an unbelievable journey, sometimes celebratory, sometimes heart breaking but always inspiring.


 
 

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Film Trailer

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screenings

 
 

Tuesday, November 14th
Holocaust Museum Houston

More info TBA


Sunday, December 17th, 2pm
Skirball Cultural Center

2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd


Thursday, January 25th
Whittier Public Library

More info TBA


March 2018
Portland Jewish Film Festival

More info TBA


Monday, December 4th, 7pm
Miami, FL.

More info TBA


Sunday, January 7th
San Luis Obispo Jewish Film Festival

More info TBA


Monday, February 19th
Denver Jewish Film Festival

More info TBA


 

 


Check back for schedule updates.
— Jon Kean
 

 
The day before liberation we were digging our graves...
That was the order.
 
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Just when it seems like the Holocaust has been exposed on screen from every possible angle, yet another pivotal film comes along that demands attention.
— Los Angeles Times
 
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Cast

 
Eva Beckmann Her husband to be, Fred Beckmann, brought her from Theresienstadt to Prague in 1945. In 1950, they were married. Together, they came to California in 1952 where she worked as a show room secretary in the “shmata” business. After having a daughter, Paulette, she became a full time mom. She and Fred traveled extensively and they shared a joint passion for art and culture. She has one daughter and three grandchildren. Eva recently celebrated her 94th birthday.

Eva Beckmann

Her husband to be, Fred Beckmann, brought her from Theresienstadt to Prague in 1945. In 1950, they were married. Together, they came to California in 1952 where she worked as a show room secretary in the “shmata” business. After having a daughter, Paulette, she became a full time mom. She and Fred traveled extensively and they shared a joint passion for art and culture. She has one daughter and three grandchildren. Eva recently celebrated her 94th birthday.

 
Erika Jacoby Erika was liberated with her mother on May 8th, 1945. Together, they returned to their home in Hungary. Erika came to New York where she married her husband, Emil Jacoby,  a resistance fighter during the war, on Sept. 24th, 1950. She worked as a teacher before earning a graduate degree in social work. To this day, she counsels many Holocaust survivors. She has three sons, ten grandchildren and eighteen great grandchildren.

Erika Jacoby

Erika was liberated with her mother on May 8th, 1945. Together, they returned to their home in Hungary. Erika came to New York where she married her husband, Emil Jacoby,  a resistance fighter during the war, on Sept. 24th, 1950. She worked as a teacher before earning a graduate degree in social work. To this day, she counsels many Holocaust survivors. She has three sons, ten grandchildren and eighteen great grandchildren.

Rena Drexler Rena returned to Poland in August, 1945 to search for any surviving family members. She met her husband, Harry Drexler, in Munich in1947 and had a baby that same year. She came to California on March 13, 1951 where she opened Drexler’s Deli in the San Fernando Valley with her husband. They worked there together for 45 years. They had two children, four grandchildren and three great grandchildren. Rena spent her later years in great demand as a speaker in many Los Angeles area schools, where she shared her experiences during the war. Rena passed away in 2012.

Rena Drexler

Rena returned to Poland in August, 1945 to search for any surviving family members. She met her husband, Harry Drexler, in Munich in1947 and had a baby that same year. She came to California on March 13, 1951 where she opened Drexler’s Deli in the San Fernando Valley with her husband. They worked there together for 45 years. They had two children, four grandchildren and three great grandchildren. Rena spent her later years in great demand as a speaker in many Los Angeles area schools, where she shared her experiences during the war. Rena passed away in 2012.

 
Lili Majzner Her husband to be, Szlama, walked from Buchenwald to Bergen Belsen to find Lili at liberation. Together, they went to Belgium where they were married in 1946. In 1951, they came to the United States where she worked as a teacher before having one daughter and eventually two grandchildren. Posthumously, she had two great grandchildren. Lili made good on her promise “to tell” about the Holocaust and her writings have been published in numerous magazines and books in both English and Yiddish. Lili passed away in 2009.

Lili Majzner

Her husband to be, Szlama, walked from Buchenwald to Bergen Belsen to find Lili at liberation. Together, they went to Belgium where they were married in 1946. In 1951, they came to the United States where she worked as a teacher before having one daughter and eventually two grandchildren. Posthumously, she had two great grandchildren. Lili made good on her promise “to tell” about the Holocaust and her writings have been published in numerous magazines and books in both English and Yiddish. Lili passed away in 2009.

Renee Firestone After the war, Renee returned to Czechoslovakia. There, she was reunited with her brother and together they found their father, who passed away soon after. She was married in Prague in 1948, had one child and came to America the same year where she worked as a fashion designer until 1992. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art currently has Renee Firestone-designed clothing on display in their mid century fashion gallery. In1978, Renee became one of the first survivors to speak in public about her experiences for the Simon Wiesenthal Center. She continues to travel the world today as a speaker for Holocaust education, including a recent journey to Rwanda. In addition to one daughter, she has one grandchild and three great grandchildren.

Renee Firestone

After the war, Renee returned to Czechoslovakia. There, she was reunited with her brother and together they found their father, who passed away soon after. She was married in Prague in 1948, had one child and came to America the same year where she worked as a fashion designer until 1992. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art currently has Renee Firestone-designed clothing on display in their mid century fashion gallery. In1978, Renee became one of the first survivors to speak in public about her experiences for the Simon Wiesenthal Center. She continues to travel the world today as a speaker for Holocaust education, including a recent journey to Rwanda. In addition to one daughter, she has one grandchild and three great grandchildren.

 
Linda Sherman After three months working in a Russian hospital, she was handed over to the Americans who returned her to her home in Amsterdam. In 1947, she came to America and settled in California where she worked as a nanny. She met her husband, Eli, at a doughnut shop in Santa Monica and was married in 1948. In 1998, 53 years after liberation, she was reunited with her “camp sister” from Theresienstadt. She had three children and one grandchild. Linda passed away in 2009.

Linda Sherman

After three months working in a Russian hospital, she was handed over to the Americans who returned her to her home in Amsterdam. In 1947, she came to America and settled in California where she worked as a nanny. She met her husband, Eli, at a doughnut shop in Santa Monica and was married in 1948. In 1998, 53 years after liberation, she was reunited with her “camp sister” from Theresienstadt. She had three children and one grandchild. Linda passed away in 2009.


 
 
 
Kean highlights the unbreakable spirit of the survivors who refused to give up hope no matter how grim their circumstances became.
— New York Times
 
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Crew

JON KEAN

WRITER/DIRECTOR

Jon made his film debut in 1999 as the writer/director of the comedy, Kill the Man, starring Luke Wilson and Joshua Molina. He also founded the acclaimed theatre company Theatre-A-Go-Go!, creating over a dozen original works in Los Angeles and New York. Among them are the award winning Patty, Patty, Bang! Bang!: The Patty Hearst Musical and Valley of the Dolls. In 2007 he released the critically acclaimed documentary film Swimming in Auschwitz, which serves as a prequel to After Auschwitz, following the same six women both before and during the war. He is currently working on two new documentaries, including Mythical Creatures, a groundbreaking visual documentary about Los Angeles artist Gary Baseman.

Jon was raised in Philadelphia, where he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. He now lives in Santa Monica, California with his wife and two children.


LAURA HALL

COMPOSER

Laura Hall is best known as the improvisational pianist for the hit TV show, “Whose Line is it Anyway”,

She has also written music for several films, including "Swimming in Auschwitz" and "After Auschwitz".   She wrote music for the award winning "The Wheels on the Bus" DVD series for kids, starring Roger Daltrey from The Who. She's written music for several romantic comedies including: "Slice of Pie", written by and starring her husband, Rick Hall; "Anatomy of a Breakup", directed by Judy Minor; and "Look at Me" directed by Alesia Glidewell.  She's also had music placed on the TV series, "Gotham".     

Laura got her start in Chicago at “The Second City” as an improvisational pianist, composer and musical director. She has composed original musicals with the “Annoyance Theater” and “Theater-A-Go-Go”, including “Patty, Patty, Bang! Bang!” which won an L.A. Weekly award for Best New Musical.  

Laura's has an Americana style band, “The Sweet Potatoes”, where she writes, sings, and plays guitar, accordion and ukulele. The music is mostly original, loaded with vocal harmonies and a touch of twang.  They tour nationally, performing everywhere from colleges to house concerts.

Laura has performed and recorded with such diverse talents as Keegan-Michael Key, Robin Williams, Jane Lynch, Sid Caesar, Roger Daltrey, Joe Walsh, and Florence Henderson.

For more information, please visit Laura’s website:

laurahall.com


ANNE STEIN

EDITOR

Anne has been a working editor for over three decades, starting with Milos Forman's feature film, Hair. She has worked in numerous independent features, documentaries and television series in that time.

MICHAEL BERENBAUM

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

Michael Berenbaum is a writer, lecturer, and teacher consulting in the conceptual development of museums and the development of historical films. He is director of the Sigi Ziering Institute: Exploring the Ethical and Religious Implications of the Holocaust at the American Jewish University (formerly the University of Judaism) where he is also a Professor of Jewish Studies.

Berenbaum is the author and editor of twenty books, scores of scholarly articles, and hundreds of journalistic pieces. His most recent books include: Not Your Father’s Antisemitism, A Promise to Remember: The Holocaust in the Words and Voices of Its Survivors and After the Passion Has Passed: American Religious Consequences. Johns Hopkins University Press has recently published a second edition of The World Must Know. He is also the editor of Murder Most Merciful: Essays on the Moral Conundrum Occasioned by Sigi Ziering The Trial of Herbert Bierhoff.

Among his other works are A Mosaic of Victims: Non‑Jews Persecuted and Murdered by the NazisThe Vision of the Void: Theological Reflections on the Works of Elie Wiesel, and Witness to the Holocaust: An Illustrated Documentary History of the Holocaust in the Words of Its Victims, Perpetrators, and Bystanders  and most recently, The Bombing of Auschwitz: Should the Allies Have Attempted It? (with Michael Neufeld). He is the author of A Promise to Remember co-editor of Martyrdom: The History of an Idea.


MARK MERVIS

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY

Mark began his filmmaking career while in high school in Richmond, Virginia. He shot his first broadcast commercial in 35mm when he was 16.

This led to a full time job as a camera assistant at a local production company. Within two years of this he moved up to Director of Photography shooting commercials for Circuit City and Virginia Power as well as music videos for Gwar. In 1993 he became one of the founders of Fiat Lux Films and lensed spots for McDonalds, Busch Gardens, Stihl, and the Internal Revenue Service. 

In 1997 he moved to Los Angeles as a freelance DOP and began shooting indie films. The first one was “Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss” which went to the Sundance Film Festival in 1998 and was followed to the festival the next year with the comedy “Kill the Man."

Since then Mark has shot more than 12 feature films and television movies in addition to numerous shorts and commercials.

Mark also restores antique motion picture cameras and does technical consulting on motion picture technology for films about films.


 
 
 
 
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