Daughter and victim of father’s atrocities struggle with the past
NEW ORLEANS (November 14, 2008) – Where is the legacy of the Holocaust? To Monika Hertwig, whose father perpetrated it, the layers of emotion and years of misinformation are difficult to escape. To Helen Jonas, who survived it, the desire to bring peace exists uneasily with the need to defend the truth. On Monday, December 1, 2008, Helen and Monika will grapple with their connected history as part of a special screening of James Moll’s documentary film, Inheritance. The film, presented by The National World War II Museum, will be shown at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City at 7:00 pm.
The National World War II Museum is proud to offer the thousands of members it has in New York area, as well as the general public, a preview of this important new film and the chance to meet the two women at the center of this powerful story. Connecting the public to the participants, and thereby creating a chance to experience history, fulfills the educational mission of The National WWII Museum. All of the Museum’s events and exhibits are centered around one fundamental truth: Learn something in the first person and you learn it for a life time.
Inheritance, which will be broadcast nationally on the PBS’s P.O.V. series on December 10, tells the story of Monika Hertwig, daughter of Amon Goeth, the sadistic Nazi commandant of Plaszow Concentration Camp. After seeing her father portrayed in Steven Spielberg’s 1993 movie, Schindler’s List, Monika reaches out to Helen Jonas, who Goeth had enslaved as his personal servant. Moll's cameras capture the women's brutally honest and gut-wrenching encounter in the ruins of Goeth’s villa overlooking the concentration camp. Following the screening Moll will moderate a live discussion between Helen and Monika on the questions the film raises and their own personal search for meaning.
“Inheritance examines the legacy of the Holocaust – not what happened, but what is happening today,” explains Hugh Ambrose, son of Stephen E. Ambrose, the award-winning historian and Museum founder. “Only three generations removed, it’s clear that we must protect the truth and extend its reach. The Holocaust defines the term ‘evil’ in modern world history. Its legacy has consequences for all human civilization.”
“An important part of The National World War II Museum’s mission is to conduct a national dialogue about these issues to raise awareness of the importance of World War II for future generations,” says Museum President and CEO Dr. Gordon H. “Nick” Mueller. “It’s vital to our freedom and liberties that we never forget how this war framed the ideals of our nation and our unwavering commitment to preserve the courage and sacrifice of the World War II generation.”
Sponsorship of the Inheritance screening is but the latest in a series of nationwide events the institution has underwritten that underscore the War’s continuing relevance to both the 21st-century and the Greatest Generation’s heirs – the sons and daughters of the men and women who fought in the conflict. The Museum also conducts an ongoing nationwide oral history program. To date, the collection contains over 3,000 of these priceless stories from all branches of service and races from the battlefront to the Home Front.
Academy and Emmy Award winning director James Moll’s credits include Price for Peace, a film that focuses on the Pacific theater of WWII, produced with Stephen Ambrose and Steven Spielberg in association with The National World War II Museum. Moll also produced Survivors of the Holocaust, a documentary nominated for three Primetime Emmy Awards in 1997. He established and operated The Shoah Foundation with Steven Spielberg to preserve Holocaust survivor testimonies. Moll is currently preparing to direct his first narrative feature, Emmett Till, focusing on the historic Mississippi lynching that fortified the civil rights movement.
About The National World War II Museum
The National World War II Museum tells the story of the American Experience in the war that changed the world – why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today – so that all generations will understand the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn. Dedicated in 2000 as The National D-Day Museum and now designated by Congress as the nation’s official World War II Museum, it celebrates the American Spirit, the teamwork, optimism, courage and sacrifice of the men and women who fought on the battlefront and the Home Front. For more information, call 504-527-6012 or visit www.nationalww2museum.org.
About The Museum of Jewish Heritage
The Museum’s three-floor Core Exhibition educates people of all ages and backgrounds about the rich tapestry of Jewish life over the past century—before, during, and after the Holocaust. Special exhibitions include Woman of Letters: Irène Némirovsky and Suite Française, on view through March 22 and The Shooting of Jews in Ukraine: Holocaust by Bullets, opening on November 24.The Museum offers visitors a vibrant public program schedule in its Edmond J. Safra Hall. It is also home to Andy Goldsworthy’s memorial Garden of Stones, as well as James Carpenter’s Reflection Passage, Gift of The Gruss Lipper Foundation. The Museum receives general operating support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and is a founding member of the Museums of Lower Manhattan.