Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Blessed Is The Match

I was thrilled to log on to my computer at work this morning and see a link to the new documentary Blessed is the Match on Apple's website. This was the first I had heard of Hannah Senesh, a Hungarian Jew who escaped to Palestine and then courageously joined a team of parachuters into Eastern Europe to rescue oppressed Jews. The twenty-two-year-old poet helped to facilitate the only known outside rescue mission for Jews during the Holocaust before she was executed at the hand of Nazi soldiers.

The documentary hits theaters on January 28th. You can watch the trailer here.

Corrie ten Boom, a Christian who concealed Jews in her home in Holland and was later sent to a concentration camp, was one of my earliest heroines (thanks to my mom, who rented The Hiding Place for me about a million times while I was growing up). Since taking a film-based course on the Holocaust at Richmond, I am even more addicted to these stories of courage and rescue. Below are some suggestions for additional viewing:

The Hiding Place, 1975 feature film
Corrie ten Boom, a Dutch Christian who coordinated the underground network that protected Jews in Holland during the Holocaust, wrote that "faith is like radar which sees through the fog--the reality of things at a distance that the human eye cannot see." Corrie, her sister Betsie, and their father hid many Jews within their Haarlam home, the Beje. Corrie and her sister suffered in prison and later at Ravensbruck, a German concentration camp. Betsie and Mr. ten Boom perished during their internment, but Corrie lived to tell the story and share the gospel around the world. When I was a little girl, my mom would urge me not to complain, reminding me that Corrie and Betsie found reason to praise God even for the lice in their barracks!

Weapons of the Spirit, 1989 documentary
Producer and editor Pierre Sauvage has called what happened in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, France--the rescue of five thousand Jews by five thousand Huguenot Christians--"a conspiracy of goodness." In the documentary, Sauvage, who is himself a child Holocaust survivor rescued by the people of Le Chambon, interviews both Jews and Christians who have lived to tell the story. Sauvage probes the motives behind the courageous actions of this protestant community to better understhand the sparing of his own life and the lives of five thousand others. he commends the community, saying it was a people "uniquely committed to Jewish survival."

Schindler's List, 1993 feature film
Steven Spielberg directed this widely acclaimed story of the historic Oskar Schindler. Czech-born Schindler is a businessman in occupied Germany looking to get rich quick by hiding Jews to labor in his factory during the war. Through an unlikely chain of events, he inadvertently rescues more than one thousand Jews, and at the end of the war has a change of heart about his greed. The film closes with the actual descendants of the Jews Schindler concealed placing stones on his grave (a Jewish tradition to comfort family members of the deceased).

Amen, 2002 feature film
Greek-French filmmaker, Costa-Gavaras tells the story of the historical Kurt Gerstein, a German chemist who created the infamous chemical Zyklon B to solve water purification and sanitation problems throughout Germany. Gerstein, a man of strong Christian faith, is shocked to discover that the chemical he developed is being used to systematically exterminate the Jews. The film follows Gerstein on his quest to disclose the Nazi "final solution" to the rest of the western world. Along the way, he forms a friendship with a Catholic priest named Riccardo Fontana, who tries to use his father's Vatican ties to convince the Pope to act.


mowens said...

Those are some really good ones, and I'm excited to see "Blessed is the Match". And I wish to add one. "Defiance" is the story of three Lithuanian Jewish brothers who lead a community to fight back against the Nazis. You can read more and watch the trailer here:

mowens said...

I should clarify that I haven't seen the movie; it comes out January 16th.

Chelsea said...

sounds good. Have you seen "Amen" or "Weapons of the Spirit"?

mowens said...

We met at Dr. Gushee's house and watched "Weapons" for my Holocaust class. I have not seen "Amen" but would like to.