‘Never Forget’ Takes on a Whole New Meaning
Jan 24, 2019
“I have a message for you.”
Klara, a 92-year-old Holocaust survivor, heard those words in 1961 on the streets of Tel Aviv. Like an epilogue, they would alter the course of her personal history, giving her the closure—and redemption—she had sought for years since escaping the Nazis in World War II.
Klara tells her unimaginable story in Matan Rochlitz’s short documentary, I Have a Message for You, aided in part by haunting animations that depict her treacherous journey. Like many Holocaust survivors, Klara owes her life to a particular combination of luck, ingenuity, and sheer audacity.
Rochlitz himself grew up in a family that had “experienced the full wrath of the Shoah,” as he described it. “You slowly understand that something horrific happened to your grandfather and to many other people who were members of your family,” the filmmaker told The Atlantic. “I think I had unconsciously shut down from a lot of that. But this story, because of its redemptive narrative arc, allowed me to go into the darkness.”
On the occasion of Holocaust Remembrance Day this Saturday, Rochlitz said he will be thinking about Primo Levi’s edict: Never forget. Rochlitz quoted Levi’s prologue to “If This Is a Man”:
“Consider that this has been:
I commend these words to you.
Engrave them on your hearts
When you are in your house, when you walk on your way,
When you go to bed, when you rise.
Repeat them to your children.”
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Author: Emily Buder
About This Series
A showcase of cinematic short documentary films, curated by The Atlantic.