Monday, June 2, 2014

Hiding and Seeking: Faith and Tolerance after the Holocaust - Documentary film written and directed by Menachem Daum 2004

"What makes the film both watchable and important is the candid, untidy way it presents conflicting emotions and multiple points of view." from a review by Janice Page, the Boston Globe, 4/2/2004

Menachem Daum, an Orthodox Jew and a documentary film maker, decided to make this film as a way of communicating his concern for what he saw as the  dangerous and mistaken attitude of many of the Orthodox  and ultra-Orthodox who see all non-Jews (goyim) as enemies of Jews. He had gone to Brooklyn College as well as a yeshiva and he felt the exposure to the world outside of the Orthodox community helped him have a more accurate picture of the world.

Most specifically, Daum was concerned about his two Orthodox sons who now were yeshiva students in Jerusalem and, when questioned, had a negative view of all non-Jews. So Daum put together a “roots” trip to Poland and invited his two sons along.

It is fascinating to watch the reactions of his sons to what they see and experience in Poland. On the one hand they find their families’ hometowns empty of Jews. And they see remnants of a formerly imposing synagogue destroyed by the war: signs of non-Jews as enemies of the Jews.

But on the other hand, in the last part of the film, the family visits the farm where Daum’s wife’s father and two of his brothers had been hidden by a local farmer and his wife until the war was over. Here the two sons have to confront their preconceived notions. They have the opportunity to meet three generations of the Polish farm family, see the hiding place, and acknowledge the risks the family took to hide their grandfather and his brothers. The Daum family bestows belated gratitude for their Polish saviors by arranging for the family to be honored by Yad Vashem.

Menachem Daum hopes that his sons’ experience is Poland has permanently changed their world view that all non-Jews are enemies of Jews. By extension, it is clear that Daum hopes that the film will do the same for viewers who have similar opinions.

To read an article about a reunion between a Polish Jew and the son of his farm family protectors, click here.
To read about the Jewish cemetery in Zadunska Wola and to see many photos, click here.

Author’s father’s family
Akiva Leiser Lasker – married Purya Yiska (bat Yosef)
     Blima Lasker – daughter of Akiva and Purya; married Duvid Daum
        Moshe Yosef Daum – son of Blima and Duvid; married Fayge Mindl Nussbaum
             Menachem (Martin) Daum – son of Moshe Yosef and Fayge Mindl; married Rivka Federman; author
                   Tzvi David Daum – son of Menachem and Rivka
                   Akiva Daum – son of Menachem and Rivka

Author’s wife’s family
Avram Wolf Federman – married Aidle Chesky
     Chaim Federman – son of Avram and Aidle
            Rivka Federman – daughter of Chaim; married Menachem Daum (see above)
     Joseph Federman – son of Avram and Aidle
     Pinchas Federman – son of Avram and Aidle

Dzialoszyce, Poland
Zadunska Wola, Poland
Schenectady, NY
Brooklyn, NY
Jerusalem, Israel

To purchase click on: hiding and seeking