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Name of the exhibit: Undying Love, A Feature Documentary Film by Helene Klodawsky
Submitted by: Fran Klodawsky
Date of origin: March 2011
Origin of the object: The origin of the object is a story that was told by my parents, survivors from Lodz Poland, about how they reconnected soon after the war ended. They were young sweethearts and neighbours prior to the war. Their experiences inspired the film UNDYING LOVE, directed by my renowned documentary film-maker sister, Helene Klodawsky, about stories of love and marriage that emerged from the Holocaust.
Description: My parents met as teenagers in Lódź, Poland. When the Nazis invaded, my father escaped to Russia, while my mother remained in the Lódź Ghetto with her mother and younger sister. My mother’s mother was murdered by the Nazis in 1942. My mother and her sister were sent to Auschwitz in Sept 1944 where my mother’s sister was murdered. My mother was a slave laborer, sent first to Bergen Belson and then to Neuengamme concentration camp in Salzwedel Germany.
At war’s end, while at Braunschweige Displaced Persons camp in Germany, my mother made contact with a surviving uncle living in Munich Germany. She knew little of him but was overjoyed by the prospect of finding a living family member. With high hopes for connection, care and loving warmth she traveled to the other side of Germany to see him. But the uncle turned out to be a terrible disappointment; he was cold and unresponsive. She left after one night, travelling back to the DP camp by train. This was during a time when millions of refugees were criss-crossing Europe, overwhelming trains and roads. During a train stop in Frankfurt my mother became ill and quickly left the terribly crowded train, leaving all her belongings, to go to the bathroom. When she returned the train and everything she owned were gone. While she was standing there not sure of how to get back to the DP camp, another train arrived; who should emerge but my father. After not seeing one another for five years, they rediscovered one another and rekindled their romance. Eventually they decided to come to Canada and marry.
This story was told many times in my family but when my father died, the retelling took on a particular significance and it inspired my sister to think about this story as the basis of a film about love, post-war marriage and the Holocaust. As one character in Undying Love says, “Hitler was our matchmaker”.
Voyage to Ottawa: This documentary film was directed by my sister and produced by Ina Fichman of Intuitive Pictures. It received much critical acclaim, has been widely distributed, televised around the world, and has received the following awards:
Best Feature Documentary, Warsaw Jewish Film Festival
Best Documentary Screenplay, Writer’s Guild of Canada
Best Camera, Canadian Society of Cinematographers
Best Television History Documentary in Canada, Gemini Awards
Best Humanitarian Film, Columbus International Film Festival, Chris Award
Finalist, Best Documentary of the Year, Prix Gémeaux
Special Mention, Jerusalem International Film Festival
To view the film, click on the following link: