New to VOD this week:
Eli Adler, Blair Gershkow
Mill Valley 2015
Denver, Jewish fests in Atlanta, Charlotte, Seattle, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Warsaw
A personal reflection of Holocaust survivors standing up to American neo-Nazis.
In the aftermath of World War II, Jack Adler, like many other Polish Jewish immigrants, settled in Skokie IL, and tried to put their horrific experiences of the Holocaust behind them, rarely, if ever, talking about the past. Decades later, in 1977, Frank Collin, the leader of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Party of America, decided to stage a march through this predominantly Jewish community, ultimately working with the ACLU to defend their First Amendment rights in a case heard by the US Supreme Court. As detailed in this doc, co-directed by Adler’s son, the Skokie Affair served as an impetus to many survivors to band together and speak out against the American Nazi party – and against Collin, himself a self-hating son of a Jewish survivor – and to share their stories of survival. While worthwhile for its message, particularly in the new America’s xenophobic climate, Adler and Gershkow’s project is marred by a too conventional approach heavy on narration and talking heads and also includes an only tangentially-related section following the Adlers’ 2012 visit back to Poland which feels decidedly tacked on to expand the project to barely feature-length.