I Was A Child of Holocaust Survivors – Animated Adaptation Of Bernice Eisenstein’s Illustrated Memoir [Video]

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I Was a Child of Holocaust Survivors is director Ann Marie Fleming’s animated adaptation of  Bernice Eisenstein’s acclaimed illustrated memoir. Using the healing power of humour, the film probes the taboos around a very particular second-hand trauma,  leading us to a more universal understanding of human experience. (via National Film Board of  Canada’s online Screening Room).

The Holocaust occurred seven decades ago, and the survivors of this episode are aging and dying. In fact, calling the Holocaust an “episode” seems to be trivializing one of the darkest periods in human history. I apologize for any such characterization. The Holocaust was a monstrosity, an aberration, a blot on the record of humanity. Millions died.

Yet some lived. And these survivors had a life, children, a home.

I Was a Child of  Holocaust Survivors” is author Bernice Eisenstein’s recollections of growing up in a family that had both mother and father with tattooed arms. Even as a youngster, Eisenstein grappled with the knowledge of her parent’s past, the stigma of being defined by this past, and the responsibility of maintaining memories without adding more pain to the world.

I Was a Child of Holocaust Survivors is not a first person account of experiences during WWII as you can read in Night, by Elie Wiesel, although some of her parent’s stories are recounted. However, Eisenstein’s experiences and memories are also real. She hungered to understand what her parents experienced.  She cried harder than her parents when she watched films about the Holocaust. The Holocaust has shaped members of a succeeding generation.

She exists because of the Holocaust, with her parents finding each other at liberation, and shaping her through their language, actions, and social life.

The book has illustrations throughout…  haunting depictions not of life in concentration camps, but how a child (and later a young woman) came to view her heritage.

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