The Last Witnesses

On Wednesday, the 14th of September, I went to meet Lucia Heilman at the Tel-Aviv cinematheque,  as we had decided at our meeting this last summer in Vienna.

When I could not see Lucia at the cinematheque,  I started worrying  about her. Then I met Lucia's daughter, who informed me that her mother had indeed bought a ticket to Tel-Aviv, but two weeks ago she didn't feel good, so her doctor forbade her to fly.  She also told me that her mother felt better at the moment.

I was sorry I didn't meet Lucia, but I was not sorry that I went to see "The Last Witnesses" on her recommendation. For over two hours, I was hypnotized  by the appalling testimonies of seven Holocaust survivors. The testimonies were presented by the survivors, as well as by actors of the Austrian Borgtheatre. The movie was followed by a session of questions and answers, conducted in English, German and Hebrew.

The survivors who took part in this session confessed that initially they expected   the movie to be screened 3 or 4 times at the most. But here they were , at the 35th screening of the movie!  And the movie meets a real need, in view of the fact some of the survivors  confessed that on returning to Austria , they felt the need to apologize for having survived the Holocaust (!), and in view of the initial unwillingness of the Austrian government to return the confiscated Jewish properties to the lawful Jewish owners. Such testimonies indicate that there is no certainty that the horrifying past won't repeat itself.  That is why this movie and the witnesses who took part in it are worthy of the highest appreciation.

So, I'd like to thank Lucia Heilman for inviting me to this memorable evening, and to wish her a quick and full recovery.