Descendant of Holocaust Survivor Launches Search Mission To Trace Survival of Family Member
With an earnest desire to look for grandma’s brother who unknowingly believed to perish in Nazi camp in World War 2, Yael Reuveny launched a search operation for the lost relative.
Ms. Reuveny was born in Israel 35 years after the end of World War II. She was raised by her mother who was an embittered concentration camp survivor who had never been able to forgive the Nazis.
Her grandmother Michla’s entire family had perished in a death camp in Poland. However, a rumor spread that her grandma’s brother may have survived the Holocaust.
Yael’s grandmother Michla made her way to Tel Aviv where, despite being plagued by nightmares, she would marry and have three kids. Unfortunately, she was also widowed at a young age, and eventually went to her grave still harboring a grudge against Germany.
Meanwhile, her brother changed his name to Peter Schwarz, and married a German gentile with whom he had three children. And not only did he hide the fact that he was Jewish from his offspring, but he continued to live in Schlieben, the town where he’d been imprisoned in a Nazi death camp.
When Ms. Reuveny caught wind of the existence of another branch of her family tree, she became obsessed with tracking down her long-lost relatives. That five-year quest is the focus of Farewell, Herr Schwarz, a bittersweet documentary detailing an attempt to reconcile a pair of siblings’ polar opposite responses to the Holocaust.
After examining the divergent behavior of siblings Michla and Peter, director Reuveny devotes attention to how the pair’s second and third generations have adjusted to life.
It is quite a surprise to learn that Peter’s grandson Stephan’s dream has been to move to Israel ever since learning that he is a quarter Jewish. And by contrast, filmmaker/narrator Reuveny opts to settle in Europe, feeling perfectly at home there upon completion of her labor of love.
A fascinating, generations-spanning genealogical journey!
Farewell, Herr Schwarz
Excellent (4 stars)
In Hebrew, German and English with subtitles
Running time: 101 minutes
Distributor: Kino Lorber
Watch the Farewell, Herr Schwarz trailer: