Terezin, I Love You: Romance in a Concentration Camp
As the grandchild of Holocaust survivors, my identity is inextricably linked to the Nazi genocide. In particular, my life is a direct result of my grandparents having met one another as prisoners in the concentration camp, Theresienstadt. I cannot remember when I first learned about the Holocaust. For as long as I can remember, however, I knew that it was an enormously meaningful event for my family. Few people experience, much less survive, such an ordeal, but my grandparents did and I believe that their story inspired my deep interest in history. However, one may look at my studies as a history student and be baffled that I did not devote much of my research to the events that surrounded my family’s past. Indeed, I believe my family worries that if the grandchild of a Holocaust survivor does not show a burning desire to study the era, how could one expect even the faintest interest in the topic from others?
Though I do not accept the premise that I and other young people are not interested in the Holocaust, I hope to assuage some of the concerns of my own family (and potentially others) with my new documentary, Terezin, I Love You: Romance in a Concentration Camp. The film is a result of my grandmother including me in her plans to revisit the concentration camp where she met my grandfather many years ago. I was drawn to the irony of love flourishing between inmates during the Holocaust. Though I have heard many horrible stories from the time, I could not remember my grandmother speaking with such nostalgia as when she recalled her first “date” with my grandfather. I cannot help but feel there is something bizarre about writing that my grandmother was nostalgic for anything about that time. But, nonetheless, I am certain that, to some extent, that sentiment exists and I am determined to explore how romance helped her survive the Holocaust in this film.
In July, my father, my uncle, and myself will travel to the Czech Republic and follow my grandmother as she explains how her life was dramatically altered after the Nazi invasion. The film will focus on the moments of relative happiness and ease that my grandmother felt during the otherwise tragic time, with particular emphasis on the role that love played in her survival. Interviews with historians and psychologists will contextualize my grandmother’s story to explain how love fit into the infamously horrible events of the Holocaust.
This film is of great importance to my own family, however, I have noticed interest in the topic from others, as well. I decided to try to raise funds for the project in order to make the film quality as high as possible so that others could share in my grandmother’s powerful story. To that end, I created a Kickstarter page for the documentary, where people can pledge to donate money to the project. Kickstarter is an amazing tool for creative endeavors because of its democratic nature and its ability to inspire people to engage with projects that are important to them. To date, I have received about 50% of my $5,000 goal. If you are interested in or inspired by this project, I ask that you visit the project’s Kickstarter page (link below) to learn more.