Sunday, August 1, 2010

Dancing in Auschwitz

A friend recently told me of a tour that baffled and scared me.  He and his wife, 10 other married couples from his synagogue, and their rabbi had gone on a tour of death camps of the Holocaust.  I told him that I could never go on such a trip.  It would be too sad and scary for me.  He told me that Auschwitz, generally regarded as the worst of the Nazi death camps, had very  little evidence of the horrors thatshad been there.  All that was left to see were an empty crematorium building, some gallows, and some barbed wire fences.  He told me that some of the people on the trip had parents or grandparents who had died in the Nazi death camps, and for these people, the visit was an affirmation of life.
"Dancing in Auschwitz" is a controversial film that really dramatizes the "affirmation of life" theme.  The film made in 2009 by Jane Korman, shows Ms. Korman,  her 89 year old father (a Holocaust survivor), and Ms. Korman's three children dancing at Auschwitz and other former Nazi concentration camps.  Ms. Korman posted a clip of her film on Youtube, and she was surprised at the negative backlash she got for it.  It soon went viral and was re-released on You tube.  I tried to watch it on Youtube, but got a message "This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by APRA."

This photo by AP, taken during the production of the film, shows Holocaust survivor Adolek Kohn and his grandchildren in front of the gate to Auschwitz.

I was brought up in a family which was ethnically Jewish but not religious, and I feel the Holocaust issues very deeply.  I suppose that I would have been horrified by the film if I saw it before my friend told me about the "affirmation of life" perspective.  If I could see the film now, I think it would kick up a lot of deeply rooted emotions in me, but I would probably end up liking it. 

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