Forgotten Transports to Estonia | Screening and Discussion

When: 2012-02-01 17:00 - 2012-02-01 19:00
Where: Americké centrum, Tržiště 13, Praha 1 – Malá Strana
Entry fee: Free

“Forgotten Transports” stand out from the multitude of Holocaust documentaries because its director, Lukas Pribyl, did more than track down survivors or burrow through film archives and deportation records. Over 10 years and visits to 30 countries, he hunted down photographs of SS camp commanders and snapshots taken by local residents and workers who might have encountered inmates, sometimes trading bottles of vodka for the artifacts. The impression conveyed is that a photographer was along for the nightmare ride of the Czech Jews.  Together the films trace the experiences of 76 of the 270 survivors among the thousands of Czech Jews deported, not to the familiar Theresienstadt ghetto or to Auschwitz, but to less-well-known camps like Jagala and Kaiserwald. Mr. Pribyl chose that approach because his grandfather was sent to an obscure camp.

In English.

Forgotten Transports to Estonia

On September 5, 1942, a transport of a thousand Czech Jews arrives at the tiny village of Raasiku in Estonia. Nazi officers immediately separate out several dozen young women and take them to a nearby concentration camp. The bewildered girls soon form an extremely tight-knit group based on mutual aid and bonds stronger than friendship. Though their living conditions steadily deteriorate, they refuse to acknowledge this to themselves. They are convinced they will return home and will be reunited with their families. Even when presented with an opportunity, escape is unthinkable – they have been warned that their parents would pay with their lives if they try. Those who nonetheless attempt to get away do not fare well, as Inge Sylten in the astonishing and tragic case of a concentration camp Romeo and Juliet, a forbidden love affair between a concentration camp commander and a beautiful Czech Jewess. The girls act in unison, almost like a single living organism. Their comraderie, youthful optimism, humor and naivety enable them to ignore all the death surrounding them and overcome unspeakable hardships on their dramatic journey through concentration camps till liberation. Still they hope to meet their parents. But on September 5, 1945, at a party while they are convalescing in Sweden, they meet a priest…