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Friday, July 8, 2016

'March of the Living' VOD Perfect Tribute to Eile Wiesel

The June 28, 2016 VOD premiere of  the 2010 "world cinema" company Visit Films documentary "March of the Living" coming a few days before the July 2, 2016 death of Holocaust survivor/educator Elie Wiesel is an encouraging sign that the never forget and never again message of Wiesel will continue to get out there for the indefinite future. The fact that the teens from all over the world forego days at the beach or less emotional trips to Europe to spend their summer joining Holocaust survivors on visits to concentration camps followed by a happier journey to Israel is equally encouraging.

The titular trek is an annual variation on the infamous death march of Jews, homosexuals, and other "undesirables" slated for for genocide by the Nazi government. The more uplifting (purely courtesy of Unreal TV) unofficial message of the annual celebration of life that ends in Israel each summer is "We're here; we're Jews; get used to it." An alternative cry of strength is "I am Jew; hear me roar; my numbers are too big to ignore."

2002 Oscar-nominated director Jessica Sanders does a great job letting the survivors and the teens tell their stories and in recording the impact of the camps on these groups. As these kids state, they are the last generation that will be able to hear first-hand accounts of the horrors in the camps. 

Sanders focusing on groups from Los Angeles, Brazil, and Germany provides an excellent sense of the international element of the March. The Los Angeles contingency includes a survivor who loves riding his blue Vespa motorized scooter and a few teens who have experienced fairly low levels of antisemitism. 

One of the more interesting stories from a teen is that of a boy from Brazil. He tells of his great-grandfather fleeing to that country from Germany based on concerns after reading "Mein Kampf" by Hitler.

Other scenes hit the trifecta of illustrating the purpose of the March, communicate the related message of Sanders, and validate the adage about wisdom coming from the mouths of babes. One girl notes the contrast between thinking of the camps in terms of black-and-white images and seeing them in living color and a boy observes that books on the Holocaust communicate the facts, but not the emotions, regarding the camps.

Much of the impact of the camps relates to separate exhibits of the massive accumulations of belongings and even hair. Seeing an enormous pile of shoes and an enormous storeroom full of hair is incredibly disconcerting.

Stating much more runs the risk of further reducing the positive and negative impact  of seeing the film. The remaining spoiler is that the Holocaust will be much more personal to you once you watch it.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "March" is encouraged to email me. You can also connect on Twitter via