Screening the Holocaust: HKHTC-supported Holocaust Films @ HK Jewish Film Festival 2023

2023-11-24T16:51:37+08:00Tags: |

The Hong Kong Holocaust & Tolerance Centre was pleased to support a number of Holocaust-themed films as part of the 24th Hong Kong Jewish Film Festival taking place 11-19 November 2023.

These public screenings took place in person at the Golden Scene Cinema at 2 Catchick St, Kennedy Town. Please see the list below for film descriptions.

Supported Films 2023

The Return of the Violin (Sunday, 12 November, 12:00pm)

A young Jewish boy [Bronislaw Huberman] from Czestochowa, Poland, plays the violin with such virtuosity that a nobleman gifts him a 1731 Stradivarius, which he later plays in front of composer Johannes Brahms. While playing at Carnegie Hall in 1936 Huberman’s violin is stolen. Forced to flee Europe at the onset of World War II, he emigrates to Israel where he establishes the Israeli National Orchestra (the present day Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra) and rescues hundreds of Jewish musicians from Nazi Europe. In this documentary, American violinist Joshua Bell reveals the compelling story of the violin, which was only recovered in 1985.

The Conspiracy (Sunday, 12 November, 1:50pm)

This startling animated documentary addresses an insidious, centuries-old conspiracy theory that continues to rear its ugly head today: the idea that Jews have a secret international plot to control the world. Filmmaker Maxim Pozdorovkin and a host of talented voice actors including Mayim Bialik, Liev Schreiber, Jason Alexander, and Ben Shenkman connect the dots of hate and fear, walking us through almost 250 years of antisemitic ideology, and focusing on how times of uncertainty give rise to hatred and increase anxieties in marginalized populations.

Link to trailer here.

The Man in the Basement (Sunday, 12 November, 5:20pm)

After a Jewish couple in Paris sells their basement storage unit to a former history teacher (“The Intouchables’” François Cluzet), they discover his secret life as an antisemitic conspiracy theorist. As the couple struggles to rescind the sale, the buyer befriends their naive teenage daughter.

Link to trailer here.

Shadow of the Day (Tuesday, 14 November, 8:50pm)

In 1938 Italy, after the promulgation of the racial laws, fascist-abiding restaurateur Luciano believes he can still live by his own rules inside his business. Everything changes when he hires Anna, a girl with a dangerous secret. A resonance with Europe’s flirtation with modern-day facism can be felt in every scene in this mesmerizing period thriller.

Link to trailer here.

June Zero (Wednesday, 15 November, 9:00pm)

This empathetic and humanistic film looks at the infamous trial of Adolf Eichmann, the architect of the mass extermination of Jews during the Second World War. Depicting the events preceding Eichmann’s 1962 execution, Director Jake Paltrow has a unique take on the impact of the event on the Israeli society of the time. Following the perspective of the three main characters, a 13-year-old child, Eichmann’s prison guard and an investigator for the prosecution, we see a light, but gripping, way to delineate the story of this national defining event.

Link to trailer here.

Girl No. 60427 (Sunday, 19 November, 1:00pm)

Tel Aviv, 1998, summer vacation. Reut finds and reads her grandmother’s secret diary from the Holocaust. Grandma’s story resonates in Reut’s well-developed imagination, and the fun week in Tel Aviv with Grandpa and Grandma turns into something else entirely. This mixed-genre, live action/animation film is based on the childhood memories of the director, who discovered her grandmother’s Holocaust diary when she was thirteen.

Link to trailer here.

Music Under the Swastika (Sunday, 19 November, 1:00pm)

Why was classical music so important to Hitler and Goebbels? The stories of Jewish cellist Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, member of the infamous Women’s Orchestra of Auschwitz, and of star conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler, who worked with the Nazis, provide insight. Both shared a love for classical German music. Why did gifted artists like Furtwängler make a pact with evil? Why was classical music played in extermination camps? And how did this change the way victims saw music?

Link to trailer here.

Vishniac (Sunday, 19 November, 3:35pm)

Photographer Roman Vishniac is best known for traversing Eastern Europe from 1935 through 1938, on assignment for the American Joint Distribution Committee, documenting Jewish life in Eastern Europe. While the purpose of the photographs was to raise funds for impoverished Jewish communities, few could have predicted that less than a decade later these communities would be wiped out. Vishniac’s photographs provide the last visual records of an entire world. After the war he continued to add to the historical record with photographs of Berlin in ruins and children in displaced persons camps before shifting his focus to groundbreaking scientific work. The film goes behind the images and beyond the myths to portray a man who took those closest to him to the brink of rejection, yet gave the world a diverse and beautiful collection.

Link to trailer here.

Filip (Sunday, 19 November, 7:10pm)

In 1943, Filip, a Polish Jew, who managed to escape from the Warsaw ghetto, is waiting tables in the heart of Nazi Germany – while taking revenge on the Nazis in his own unique way. Alone, cosmopolitan, and incapable of deeper feelings, Filip hides his Jewish origins and often eludes death, while carelessly enjoying all the charms of a life surrounded by luxury, beautiful women and friends from all over Europe. This very sexy film is wonderfully addictive.

(Warning: Adult content)

Link to trailer here.

HKHTC Educational Event Series | Eva’s Story: A DiT Conversation with Holocaust Survivor Eva Kor

2023-12-30T11:40:20+08:00Tags: |

Through the Hong Kong Holocaust and Tolerance Centre’s partnership with the USC Shoah Foundation we are bringing eye-opening AI technology to Hong Kong. This makes it possible to engage with survivor testimony in an interactive and personal way. In this academic year, students such as those form Malvern College and ESF schools can compare and contrast different survivor testimonies, conduct independent research on individual testimonies and explore the diverse backgrounds of families whose lives were destroyed in the Holocaust. We are also developing educational resources in Chinese and also have survivor testimony from the Nanjing massacre for classroom use.

Recently, HKHTC was delighted to host Dimensions in Testimony (DiT) sessions with the interactive biography of Holocaust survivor Eva Kor at Malvern College for the HKHTC Educational Event Series.

 
About Eva Kor
Eva Kor was 10 when she and her family stepped off the train in Auschwitz in the fall of 1944. Minutes later an SS officer took her and her twin sister, Miriam, away from their mother, father and two older sisters. The twins never saw the others again. Awaiting the girls was Josef Mengele, “the Angel of Death” who performed unspeakably sadistic experiments on roughly 1,500 sets of twins. When the Soviet army liberated Auschwitz on Jan. 27, 1945, Eva and Miriam were among the fewer than 200 survivors of Mengele’s atrocities. Kor talked about her ordeal at the hands of Mengele and her decision to forgive.

Eva Kor was one of the female Holocaust survivors to be immortalised in an interactive projection in the USC Shoah Foundation’s Dimensions in Testimony – this is in partnership in Asia with the Hong Kong Holocaust and Tolerance Centre.

Yom HaShoah Commemoration 5783/2023: Remembering the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

2023-04-18T08:04:44+08:00Tags: |

Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day, is observed every year. It is a day of commemoration of the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust as a result of actions carried out by Nazi Germany. This year Yom HaShoah coincides with the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, this moment halfway through the Holocaust when the remnants of the Warsaw Ghetto, having seen their families and friends dragged off to be murdered in Treblinka, said no, no more, we will not die as the Germans decide even though die we surely will.

After almost three years of hunger, disease, terror and seeing the murder of the vast majority of their fellow Jews, these brave few decided to stand firm and die on their own terms. Their actions – that month when they kept the Germans at bay and fought from house to house, room to room – not only shocked Germany and its collaborators but gave hope also to those in ghettos and camps elsewhere. What started that night in April 1943 did not stop there but inspired rebellions in Treblinka, Sobibor, Auschwitz-Birkenau, and in the Częstochowa, Będzin and Białystok Ghettos too.
On 17 April 2023, HKHTC was honored to host the annual Yom HaShoah commemoration at the Jewish Community Centre — as we paid honour to the memory of these brave men and women who, with the partisans in the forests of Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus and elsewhere in Eastern Europe did not go like sheep to the slaughter and, instead, inspired those words in Zog nit keyn mol: mir zaynen do! [מיר זײַנען דאָ] – we are here!

 

HKHTC Educational Event at JCC x LPCUWC | ‘Pinchas’ Story’: A Live Conversation with Holocaust Survivor Pinchas Gutter

2023-12-30T13:06:08+08:00Tags: |

In March 2023, HKHTC was delighted to host Poland-born Holocaust survivor Mr Pinchas Gutter, who joined us live from his home in Toronto, for the 2023 HKHTC Educational Event Series (Pinchas’ Story: A Live Conversation with Holocaust Survivor Pinchas Gutter) with a live audience both at the Jewish Community Centre as well as the Li Po Chun United World College of Hong Kong.

Mr Pinchas Gutter

In 1942, as ten-year-old Pinchas Gutter was deported from the Warsaw Ghetto to the killing site of Maidanek and then to a series of concentration camps, he shut himself off to the terrors surrounding him and tried his best not to be noticed, to become almost invisible. But after liberation, his photographic memory would not let his past fade away, and Pinchas struggled to deal with nightmares and flashbacks.

Pinchas is the first Holocaust survivor to be immortalised in an interactive projection in the USC Shoah Foundation’s Dimensions in Testimony – this is in partnership in Asia with the Hong Kong Holocaust & Tolerance Centre.

UN Holocaust Memorial Day Commemoration 2023

2023-01-27T16:40:39+08:00Tags: |

The Hong Kong Holocaust and Tolerance Centre, together with the Asia Society Hong Kong Center, was pleased to host the annual United Nations Holocaust Memorial Day Commemoration 2023.

Poland-born Holocaust survivor Mr Pinchas Gutter was the keynote speaker. In 1942, as ten-year-old Pinchas was deported from the Warsaw Ghetto to the killing site of Maidanek and then to a series of concentration camps, he shut himself off to the terrors surrounding him and tried his best not to be noticed, to become almost invisible. But after liberation, his photographic memory would not let his past fade away, and Pinchas struggled to deal with nightmares and flashbacks.

Pinchas is the first Holocaust survivor to be immortalised in an interactive projection in the USC Shoah Foundation’s Dimensions in Testimony – this is in partnership in Asia with the Hong Kong Holocaust & Tolerance Centre.

You can watch the UNHMD 2023 commemorative event here

Remembering Nanjing: 85 Years Later | ‘A Long Road to Justice’ Webinar

2022-12-14T11:37:58+08:00Tags: , , |

A Long Road to Justice
HKHTC Webinar – Commemorating the 85th Anniversary of the Atrocities at Nanjing

December 13, 2022 8:00pm HKT

You can watch the webinar video here.

To commemorate the 85th anniversary of the Rape of Nanjing, HKHTC hosted a talk by Penguin Author Sylvia Yu Friedman on Imperial Japanese military sex slavery (“comfort women”) during World War II and modern-day slavery across Asia.

A constant stream of impoverished women and girls have been, and are being, enslaved and abused in the Asia Pacific region. Slavery is not a historical issue – it’s happening today. History is repeating itself. 

Through Sylvia’s work in journalism, she’s had rare access to survivors over the last two decades. Sylvia will share her personal journey of documenting the stories of these survivors across Asia for the next generation and to spur more people on to get involved in the fight against injustice.

About Sylvia Yu Friedman

Sylvia Yu Friedman is an award-winning filmmaker, Penguin Random House SEA author and a TV host. She is the author of A Long Road to Justice: Stories from the Frontlines in Asia; Silenced No More: Voices of Comfort Women, the only journalistic account of historical Japanese military sex slavery during WWII, and Heart and Soul: The Life Story of Pastor Augustus Chao. Sylvia was awarded the Global Top 50 Women In Sustainability Awards 2022 by The SustainabilityX® Magazine. She serves as a Member of Jury for the Asian Academy Creative Awards in the Documentary category. Currently, Sylvia is writing books and also developing various TV and film projects.

 

HKHTC-USC Shoah Foundation Project Brings the Cutting-edge Dimensions in Testimony and iWitness Systems to HK Schools and Universities

2022-11-04T16:49:34+08:00Tags: |

Since 2022, HKHTC’s multi-year cooperation with the USC Shoah Foundation enables us to have the cutting-edge Dimensions in Testimony and iWitness systems in place to roll out to schools and universities in our region.

These platforms give students eye-opening interactive access to survivor testimonies from the Shoah, the Nanjing massacre and other atrocities. This year, we partnered with the University of Hong Kong (HKU), the Hong Kong International School (HKIS), Carmel School and Malvern College to pilot these new resources for different age groups. We will bring them to many other schools including several ESF schools, German Swiss International School (GSIS) and other local colleges and universities.

In the absence of in-person visits by survivors – which will remain difficult to organise in the near future – this form of experiencing eyewitness accounts is a powerful pedagogical tool. We are also adding to these events with bespoke seminars, talks by family members of Holocaust survivors living in Hong Kong (our ‘Next Generation’ project), virtual reality exhibitions and museum tours. These interactions typically involve several hundreds of students and span multiple days.

Let There Be Light 2022 | Commemorating the 84th Anniversary of Kristallnacht

2022-12-01T16:30:40+08:00Tags: |

On 9 November 2022, together with March of the Living, the Hong Kong Holocaust and Tolerance Centre commemorated the 84th anniversary of Kristallnacht with a message of unity and hope through a unique international campaign.

Titled “Let There Be Light,” March of the Living invited individuals, institutions, and houses of worship around the world to keep their lights on during the night of November 9 as a symbol of solidarity and mutual commitment in the shared battle against antisemitism, racism, hatred, and intolerance. As part of this virtual initiative, people from all over the world were able to add their voices to the campaign. Individuals of all religions and backgrounds also wrote personal messages of hope in their own words at the campaign website here.

Meanwhile, please visit a special page on Yad Vashem’s website (click here) which features interviews, testimony, and photos on the terrible events of Kristallnacht in 1938. This year, through HKHTC’s ongoing global partnership with Yad Vashem, we will leverage our unique Holocaust education approach and reach thousands more across Asia — including educators and students in Japan, Indonesia and mainland China. As always, HKHTC continues to be very active teaching about the Holocaust in partnership with local Hong Kong schools, universities, and community organisations. Thank you again for your interest and support. We sincerely hope you can join us at our future events. Please stay tuned for more details.

Screening the Holocaust | HKHTC-supported Holocaust Films @ Hong Kong Jewish Film Festival 2022

2022-12-01T16:35:32+08:00Tags: |

The Hong Kong Holocaust & Tolerance Centre was pleased to support a number of Holocaust-themed films as part of the 23rd Hong Kong Jewish Film Festival.

These public screenings took place during 12-20 November 2022 at the Golden Scene Cinema at 2 Catchick St, Kennedy Town. Please see the list below for film descriptions.

Supported Films 2022

1.  The Rhapsody (Sunday, 13 November, 4:25pm)

“TO SEE SUCH A SIGNIFICANT TIME COME TO LIFE THROUGH A MEDIUM SO CLOSE TO SPELLMAN’S HEART AND THAT OF HIS FAMILY IS INCREDIBLY MOVING”
– POV MAGAZINE

The Rhapsody tells the astonishing story of Polish-Canadian composer Leo Spellman, whose long-lost musical masterpiece and secret wartime diary provide the framework for a remarkable journey towards artistic liberation at the age of ninety-nine.  

Spellman spent eighteen harrowing months in hiding to survive the Holocaust. His diaries, found after he passed away, are among the most revealing documents of their kind from WWII.  

The Rhapsody unfolds as Spellman prepares to record his musical masterpiece, a piece composed in a German DP camp and lost for over fifty years. Weaving together interviews with Spellman and his family, excerpts of his lost diary brought to life through animation and narrated by Stephen Fry, and live-orchestral performances of Spellman’s music; this moving documentary tells a remarkable tale of survival.

Link to trailer here.

2.  Three Minutes – A Lengthening (Monday, 14 November, 7:00pm)

“USING FOOTAGE FROM A THREE-MINUTE AMATEUR MOVIE SHOT IN 1938, THIS ROUSING DOCUMENTARY ABOUT A JEWISH TOWN IN POLAND IS A HAUNTING MEDITATION ON THE MEMORY OF THE HOLOCAUST”
– THE NEW YORK TIMES

The only nonfiction film to be selected for the 2022 Sundance Film Festival’s Spotlight section — a prestige category highlighting movies that have already premiered to acclaim elsewhere — Bianca Stigter’s feature-length directorial debut Three Minutes: A Lengthening is an inspired piece of cinematic archaeology. Stigter does exactly what the title of the piece invitingly and enigmatically implies: she examines a short section of 16mm home movie footage from every possible angle, stopping and starting and running and re-running the images without ever cutting to talking heads.

Three Minutes: A Lengthening shows footage of the Jewish inhabitants of Nasielsk, a small town north of Warsaw, Poland. The film in question was taken by David Kurtz in 1938 while on vacation, and later discovered by his grandson, Glenn, in 2009. Given that the celluloid was brittle, faded and on the very edge of salvageable, the movie was rescued and restored through the efforts of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Within seven years of Kurtz’s 1938 visit to Nasielsk, only about 100 of the town’s approximately 3,000 Jews would be alive.

Link to trailer here.

3.  Death of Zygielbojm (Wednesday, 16 November, 7:00pm)

“I CANNOT BE SILENT AND LIVE WHEN THE REMNANTS OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE IN POLAND ARE DYING”
– THE WORDS OF THE FAREWELL LETTER OF SZMUL ZYGIELBOJM

London 1943. A young British reporter was looking for topics that would push his career forward. One day he came across the case of the death of a mysterious stranger from Poland. The deceased’s name was Szmul Zygielbojm. In occupied Poland, he left his wife and three children to set off on a secret mission, first to New York and then to London. He was to inform the leaders of the Western world about the enormity of the crimes committed by the Germans against millions of European Jews. Zygielbojm’s efforts met with a wall of indifference and incomprehension. In the end, he realized that he was unable to make anyone go to help his brothers, who, in an act of ultimate desperation, took up arms in the Warsaw ghetto. Devastated by his helplessness, he decided to sacrifice his life in the hope that such a victim would not go unnoticed. Now his story is in the hands of a young journalist who will try to make the shocking truth finally see the light of day…

Death of Zygielbojm is a moving true story of one man’s heroic struggle for the world to finally perceive the tragedy of millions.

Link to trailer here.

4.  消失的安妮日記  Where is Anne Frank (Sunday, 20 November, 12:00pm)
中、英文字幕  Chinese and English Subtitles

“THE DIRECTOR BEHIND ‘WALTZ WITH BASHIR,’ THE SUPERB ANIMATED ACCOUNT OF THE HALLUCINATORY HORRORS OF WAR, ARI FOLMAN WAS NEVER GOING TO TAKE THE PREDICTABLE ROUTE WITH HIS RIFF ON THE MUCH LOVED, MUCH TRANSLATED DIARY OF ANNE FRANK”
– THE GUARDIAN

Kitty, the imaginary girl to whom Anne Frank wrote her famous diary, comes to life in the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. Her memories reawakened by reading the diary, believing that if she’s alive, Anne must be alive as well, she sets out on a quest to find Anne. We follow Kitty as she travels across Europe and back to Anne Frank’s time, armed with the precious book, in search of her beloved friend…

In Where is Anne Frank, Kitty tells Anne Frank’s story.

相信大家對安妮法蘭克及其著作《安妮日記》都不會陌生。不過本片的主角不只是那位在二戰期間困於斗室躲避納粹軍的少女,還有她日記中的假想朋友——吉蒂。故事始於當下的阿姆斯特丹,吉蒂並不意識到時間已過了75年,深信安妮仍然在世。在她的好友、秘密經營難民收容所的彼得協助下,吉蒂決意憑著她手上的《安妮日記》,展開追尋安妮蹤跡之旅。

入圍康城影展非競賽單元
多倫多國際電影節特別推介
耶路撒冷電影節開幕電影

Link to trailer here.

HKHTC @ Hong Kong International Book Fair 2022

2022-07-22T17:23:27+08:00Tags: |

On 21 July 2022, the Hong Kong Holocaust and Tolerance Centre presented a public lecture titled “Love in the Darkest Hours of the Holocaust” at the Hong Kong International Book Fair.

We are delighted that the special talk attracted a very diverse crowd, emphasizing the value and importance of HKHTC’s core message of tolerance and non-discrimination. The lecture was presented by HKHTC’s Executive Director Simon K. Li in Cantonese, enabling us to connect with many local community members, including those who learned about the Holocaust for the first time as a result of this event. HKHTC is grateful to the Consulate of Israel in Hong Kong & Macau for arranging the talk.

Love in the Darkest Hours of the Holocaust
猶太大屠殺歷史: 被遺忘的愛情故事

Speaker:
Simon K. Li (李家豪)
Executive Director, Hong Kong Holocaust and Tolerance Centre
Visiting Instructor, Yad Vashem

香港猶太大屠殺及寬容中心行政總監
以色列猶太大屠殺紀念館客席講師

我們總是能在美好的地方發現愛,但在死亡的陰影下發現愛卻實為不易。這些「愛」的故事發生在猶太大屠殺的最黑暗時刻。它們神秘、深沉,由痛苦撰寫。

但為什麼要講述這些二戰猶太人被遺忘的 「愛」的故事呢?因為愛擁有重塑希望的力量—— 身兼以色列猶太大屠殺紀念館客席講師、美國哥倫比亞大學歷史對話與問責學人的「香港猶太大屠殺及寬容中心」行政總監李家豪將會與大家一起探索,愛是如何成為他們活下去的主因。

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