Survivors featured in Channel 4 documentary

By Jennifer Lipman, January 10, 2013

A documentary looking at the lives of Holocaust survivors is to be broadcast on Channel 4 later this month.

Award-winning filmmaker Daisy Asquith recorded more than 40 hours of testimony after meeting 100 members of Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivors Centre.

Ms Asquith said she had struggled to condense the interviews into the one hour film, Britain’s Holocaust Survivors, which focuses particularly on the experiences of Freddie Knoller, Gina Turgel and Zigi Shipper during and after the Shoah. Mr Shipper last year addressed the England football squad about his time in Auschwitz.

She began work on the documentary after hearing the testimony of survivors while researching for her MA in cultural history. She had wanted to understand “how the Holocaust still plays out in survivors’ lives — how it had affected people’s attitudes to life, parenting, diet, work, almost everything.

“Exploring the emotional legacy of the Holocaust was really interesting.”

Others Ms Asquith met included Harry Fox, “an incredible guy”, who died last year. “They all wanted to tell their story. It was so tough to choose only three people.”

She has discussed placing all the material filmed in a personal archive with the JCC and the Holocaust Educational Trust.

Her hope was that viewers would recognise that “Holocaust survivors don’t want to be held up on a pedestal.
“They started out after the war not being believed, then gained more respect in the 1960s. What we need now is to treat them as human beings, not people who can answer the meaning of life. It’s an unfair responsibility.”
She had been struck by the survivors’ sense of humour — and that “they don’t waste a single moment of life”.

Mr Shipper feels that “people know so little about the Holocaust. The more we talk about it the more they see.”

Last updated: 11:15am, January 11 2013