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Daring to Resist: Three Women Face the Holocaust

1999
Distributed by Women Make Movies, 462 Broadway, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10013; 212-925-0606
Produced by Barbara Attie and Martha Goell Lubell
Directed by Barbara Attie and Martha Goell Lubell
VHS, color, 57 min.
High School - Adult
Women's Studies, History, Holocaust and Genocide Studies


Reviewed by Oksana Dykyj, Head Visual Media Resources, Concordia University, Montreal

Recommended   
 


In interweaving the histories of three Jewish women who as teenagers survived or escaped annihilation and became involved in resistance, Barbara Attie and Martha Lubell's documentary enriches the current canon of World War II Holocaust history. Structured as a parallel chronological exposition of each woman's life until the occurrence of the various Liberations in Europe, and using home movies, archival footage and personal photographs, each woman's story is presented with her own retelling of it.

Barbara Rodbell went to school with Anne Frank's sister and developed into a talented ballerina. With forged identity papers she passed as a gentile and even lived in a rooming house owned by a German Nazi sympathizer, distributing underground newspapers hidden under lettuce and tomatoes. Shulamit Lack's Zionist leanings turned her apartment into a base of operations for Jewish resistance where identity documents were forged for fleeing to Romania. When she was caught, she was sent to Auschwitz and later moved to another camp where she dug trenches. Faye Schulman's story is the most haunting and her articulate and moving interviews illustrate a most horrific part of WWII. Because of her skills as a photographer she was spared the same fate that exterminated most of her family. She saw the massacre and although she did not photograph it she had the task of developing the film and printing it. She made some duplicate photographs, which she kept to be able to document the event. She later joined a partisan group and burned her girlhood home to prevent it from falling into German hands. Her photographs of this period of her life coupled with her extraordinary spirit and dignity as we see her today provide an evocative point of view of life within resistance. In 1995 Schulman published A Partisan's Memoirs: A Woman of the Holocaust, an account of her joining the Russians to fight the Nazis.

What distinguishes Daring to Resist from the many others on this topic, apart from its highlight of resistance, is that its subjects are truly compelling and poignant oral history tellers, able to evoke fresh sorrow and admiration from viewers. Although narrated by Jeaneane Garofalo, the voices that register are those of the three memorable women who, now in their late seventies, can speak of their endurance and survival. Recommended for collections related to Genocide and Holocaust Studies, and European History.