Goodbye Theresienstadt -Jiff
April 12th, 2016
Goodbye Theresienstadt by renowned Danish film maker Jonatan Jerichow, sequel to his successful 2013 movie, October ’43, is screening on 3 May at Classic Cinemas Elsternwick. Click here to purchase tickets and don’t forget to invite your family and friends too.
One of the most memorable films shown in Melbourne in 2013 was October ’43. A tense, factual account of the plight of Danish Jews during WWII, the movie tells the story of how the Danish resistance movement, widely supported by the rest of the population, managed to get over 7000 Danish Jews (95%) safely to Neutral Sweden before the occupying Germans had time to move against them. Beautifully told and with exquisite visuals, the film captures a proud moment of Danish history while providing a salient demonstration of the ideas of community and humanity against statehood and doctrine.
The Jewish International Film Festival (JIFF) is once again hosting Danish Film Maker Jonatan Jerichow as part of their 2016 Holocaust Film Series. This year’s screening presents Goodbye Theresienstadt, the sequel to October ’43, told from the point of view of the 470 Jews that didn’t make it across to safety. The film follows six Danish Jews seventy years after they were miraculously rescued and illustrates what Denmark did to save the Danish Jewish population, getting most of them to safety, and trying to protect those who were captured and interned.
Goodbye Theresienstadt is screening on 3 May at Classic Cinemas Elsternwick at 7.45pm, followed by a 30 minute Q&A session. Don’t miss this unique chance to see a Danish movie in Melbourne and meet with the director in person afterwards. We spoke to Jonatan about his new film and asked him a few questions:
Welcome back to Melbourne! Did you enjoy your last visit? How was October ’43, shown here at the Jewish International Film Festival in 2013, received?
Thank you! I definitely enjoyed my last visit. I am looking very much forward to visiting Melbourne again, and I am very grateful for the support from the Dannebrog Foundation. The screenings in Melbourne and Sydney were a great experience and I met many interesting people. So I am very excited about going back to the Classic Cinema in Elsternwick with this new documentary Goodbye Theresienstadt.
Your new movie Goodbye Theresienstadt is a sequel to October ’43. Why did you want to make a sequel to October ’43?
The story about the rescue of the Danish Jews is well known all over the world. But 472 Danish Jews never made it to safety in Sweden. They were deported to Theresienstadt but were miraculously saved in the end of the war. It is a less-known story that should be told as well.
How satisfied are you with this sequel? What different challenges as a writing and filming project did the sequel present?
To be honest, I am proud of the film we made. It has been screened at a number of festivals in the States – from New York to Hollywood – and received good reviews in Danish newspapers.
Goodbye Theresienstadt is very different from October 43. The plot and the locations are different – and by going back to Theresienstadt, the viewers of the film will meet the survivors in the concentration camp where their childhood was destroyed.
Does the story of the Danish Jews and their escape or capture resonate in a contemporary context for you, or is this merely an act of recording the past?
I think it is always important to remember the past. The rescue of the Danish Jews is often being mentioned in the debate about the current refugee-crisis in Europe.
In your opinion, did this event irrevocably change Danish Culture? If so, how?
I think – and I hope – so. When the Danish Jews needed it the most, the civil society helped them. I hope that it has become a part of the Danish culture to help minorities when they need it. At least, the reference to the events in October 43 is important for the debate in Denmark.
As a Dane, do you subscribe to the ‘mythical’ idea of hygge? If so, how does hygge manifest for you?
Haha. For many Danes, hygge is a cornerstone of our culture. It is like scheduling a good time. Tonight it will be “hyggeligt”. For me, hygge is being with me girlfriend and our two beautiful daughters. Writing this, I have just returned from filming in Hungary in poor Roma-villages. Tomorrow morning, it will be “hyggeligt” when we are making pancakes before going to the kindergarten.
What’s next for Jonatan Jerichow? Is this the last film on this event or are there other stories to tell?
There are so many stories to tell – I am in the early stages of several new documentary projects.