MOVIE REVIEW: Condemned to Remember

Heartbreaking documentary about Tomi Reichental, a Holocaust survivor, who after surviving the inhuman circumstances of the Nazi Death Camps at the age of ten, managed to assemble a life, moving to Ireland in 1959.  At 82 he now spends his time making sure that his experiences in the camp and the genocide in particular is not brushed aside by the deniers, by visiting any schools, colleges, and even the churches of different faiths.

There are some documentaries that haunt you.  Condemned to Remember is one of those documentaries as it shows that humanity can’t learn from our mistakes.  The story goes from his early life in Slovakia which in his own words was almost heaven and then being sent as a 10 year old boy to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.  He builds his life in Europe and then moves to Ireland where he now still lives.

If this had stayed with the tale of the concentration camps and the Holocaust you would think that you’ve seen this all before.  Why Condemned to remember will stay with me is that Tomi investigates the state of our world today and how the mistakes that were made during the second World War have been repeated since and are on the verge of happening again.  Croatia and Syria are two examples, out of many, that the documentary is focused on.  Interviewing survivors of both countries and examining the reactions that they faced from during and after their survival.  Personally, and this was just me, when I heard some Dublin people talking about not taking in some refugees from Syria over the most meaningless objections, when throughout our own history we have sought out refuge, and still do, made me sick to my stomach.

Another major part of the documentary was this 82 year old man going to face the future oppressors that are coming up in Europe, but those men were cowards and decided that their open opinions are too weak to talk about to a survivor of what they want to happen again.  In another segment he tries to face down one of the female guards of his Concentration Camps and try to bring her to justice for denying that the Holocaust even happened.

Condemned to Remember isn’t just one of the documentaries that you should watch.  This is one documentary that you have to watch, you have to sit your backside and the backsides of everyone you know, of all ages, to see this.  Grab someone you don’t know off the street and take them to see this.  We have to learn that we are one species, sharing this blue ball, and we are all going to live and die here.  It should happen through time not at each others hands.  What is outstanding is the positive vibe coming at the end of it.  Hate kills more people than cancer.  You have to see this film and think about the consequences that our actions will have beyond our lifetimes.  There are some exceptionally brutal moments of archive footage that will be distressing to younger viewers but if they can handle Rick and Morty then they can now wake up to the reality of life.  It’s time that Condemned to Remember becomes compulsory viewing for every schoolchild over an age in Ireland.

Director: Gerry Gregg
Producer: Gerry Gregg
Cast: Tomi Reichental, Jan Gross, Sami Aiyob

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