Holocaust survivor film to be screened at JC
The car is crowded and the people in it are cold and hungry. As the train rattles along, two young men strain to remove the bars that are covering the one small window and keeping them trapped inside.
After eight hours of arduous work the bars come loose. Just as the train reaches the German border, the two young men, Leo Bretholz and his friend Manfred, squeeze through the window and leap from the train, escaping the certain death that is awaiting them at the train’s destination.
It has been 70 years since Bretholz jumped from the train that was taking him to Auschwitz. Now his story and its impact will live on forever through the movie “See You Soon Again,” which was filmed at JC and is being screened at JC on Oct. 17.
Every year, Holocaust survivors visit schools in the Baltimore area to tell their stories. In 2010 a movie was filmed at JC, Perry Hall, and Pikesville to commemorate the survivors and continue to tell their stories.
English teacher and senior project coordinator Louise Geczy is involved in the planning of the screening of the film. “It’s a film about the impact of the survivors telling their stories on the students and the survivors themselves,” Geczy said.
“The film is about Holocaust survivors telling their stories, but it’s not a film about the Holocaust and you’re not getting their stories per say. It’s not just like ‘let me tell you this person’s story.’ It’s about the impact of the stories,” Geczy said.
Instead of only filming the survivors telling their stories, the directors Lukas Stepanik and Bernadette Wegenstein followed the survivors for an extended period of time. They filmed the survivors living their personal lives and interacting with their families and the students they met.
“It was filmed in the cinéma vérité format, which is like reality based TV, except not the cheesy reality based TV kind of stuff like ‘Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.’ We’re beyond the Honey Boo Boo stage,” said Geczy.
Students from JC and the other schools are in the film. Meredith O’Connell, class of ’10, is featured in the film because she participated in a program with Bretholz and even had him over for dinner at her house. A portion of one of Dr. Yeung’s religion classes and students experiencing Bretholz’s presentation are also shown in the film.
“See You Soon Again” was featured at the Maryland Film Festival in May, and its international debut was Sept. 21 in Vienna, Austria. On Oct. 17 there will be a free screening of the film open to the public at JC.
After the film there will be a panel discussion for the audience featuring Wegenstein, Andy Klein, JC alumni, and three survivors: Bretholz, Bluma Shapiro, and Martha Weiman. The screening will begin at 7 p.m. in the auditorium.
Mary Kate Luft is an A&E Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.Holocaust survivor film to be screened at JC,