From Out of the Ashes is a documentary detailing the purpose and people attending the First World Gathering of Holocaust Survivors, which takes place in Israel. The film opens with the Holocaust as a history lesson in an Israeli classroom. We hear children’s thoughts about feelings on what the Holocaust has come to mean to them and their families. Many of the children are form families who have been touched directly by the holocaust. In From Out of the Ashes, we are watching third generation survivors learn about themselves as they make up history. We are at the airport. We see the reunions of people long separated by the end of the war and resumed lives. Here we focus on one woman. She is greeted by friends and relatives. Her name is Itka. They travel to Jerusalem and whisper at the Western Wall. Then, at the Gathering, we hear people calling out names and places in many languages in hope of finding someone who might have shared their past. Itka calls out in an attempt to find a lost relative. What she finds is a woman with whom she shared her concentration camp experience. “All three camps!”, she exclaims. “Can you imagine?” They embrace each other as they embrace their past. Through the Gathering, Itka finds a man who lived in the same town. Together they recreate a part of their past before the Holocaust. Now in their sixties, these two old friends give us a glimpse of a richly textured life which enabled them to survive a holocaust intact. At the final rally of the Gathering, Israel’s present and future are a major concern. There is a wide variety of opinion on the lessons of the holocaust. But there is general agreement that it is an important part of the Jewish “personality” and serves as a lesson which has become a legacy. With 5,000 survivors gathered from all over the world, the image of this historic crowd in front of the Western Wall serves as a symbol of a culture which historically defies the odds. “We are here!” is the refrain. A film by Ruth Lefkowitz.
30 minutes • Color
Winner of The Cine Eagle Award
American Film Festival Finalist
Student Academy Award Regional Winner