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South Florida Sun-Sentinal Jewish Journal

Holocaust documentary well-received in local film festival

By Sergio Carmona, Staff Writer

A documentary featuring a Holocaust survivor was recently screened at the DocMiami International Film Festival.

"The Lion of Judah" follows New York resident and Holocaust survivor Leo Zisman as he leads a group of young adults back to Poland and Auschwitz.

Monica Rosales, executive director for the film festival, said the documentary was well-received by the local audience.

"The guests were extremely moved by the film and many commented on the need to continue to remember the events of the Holocaust — not only as an event which was inflicted against the Jewish community but as a horrible event in history which was inflicted against humanity as a whole," she added.

Matt Mindell, the film's producer and director, said he noticed a lot of Spanish-speaking people who weren't Jewish at the screening in North Miami Beach.

"What is interesting about the screening is there was a Cuban woman, who's not Jewish, who brought her granddaughter with her and who, when she was a little girl, read a book about the Holocaust which was totally traumatic to her and she wanted to make sure that her granddaughter knew about the Holocaust and what it was all about and the human tragedy involved," Mindell added. "Her granddaughter really enjoyed the film and thought it was an inspiring lesson and that was very meaningful to me because I wanted to reach all different kinds of people because the film's obviously about the Holocaust but it's also about overcoming human tragedy."

During the documentary, the trip participants speak of their own search for answers and identity, including several who are descendants of concentration camp survivors. The group visited the camps that Zisman was forced to travel to as a young boy during the Holocaust. Young Poles are also asked their opinions of Jews and the Holocaust, and some of their views are unchanged from their parents' and grandparents' anti-Semitic feelings.

Zisman said revisiting this tragic path was very emotional for him, especially visiting the camps for the first time since the Holocaust.

"I didn't stop crying, and I usually don't cry," he said. "This was the first time I visited the camps since 1945 and it was very meaningful and emotional for me."

Link to the story on The Sun-Sentinal Jewish Journal


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