Prisoner Number A26188: Henia Bryer

2015 ,    »  -   5 Comments
Ratings: 7.82/10 from 33 users.

A raw and deeply emotional testament to survival and perseverance in the face overwhelming atrocity, Prisoner Number A26188: Henia Bryer is a film that should be required viewing for this and future generations.

Assembled by Lisa Bryer, the acclaimed producer of the Last King of Scotland, the film consists of an intimate 43-minute testimony from Bryer's aunt Henia, a lovely, articulate 86-year old woman who recalls her experiences surviving multiple concentration camps following Germany's invasion of her native Poland in 1939.

Henia was a young teen when she and her family were rounded up and sent to the Radom ghetto with 30,000 others. By the time the war ended, she had lost her father, her sister, and her disabled older brother, and she had been forced to fight for her life in some of the most hellish environments in recorded history.

She also came face to face with some of the Holocaust's most infamous monsters. She was hauled to four camps including Kraszow, the site of unspeakable horrors that was so memorably portrayed in Steven Spielberg's Oscar-winning Schindler's List. There, she encountered Amon Goeth, the commandant of the camp who was played by actor Ralph Fiennes in the film. Henia recalls the casual manner by which Goeth would murder camp inmates on a whim.

Later, she was taken to Auschwitz, where her fate was quickly determined by one of history's most sadistic figures, Dr. Josef Mengele.

After she was liberated, she reunited with her mother, got married, moved to South Africa and started a family of her own. Her nightmare might have ended over 70 years ago, but the atrocities she bore witness to are as fresh in her mind as the day they occurred.

Henia recounts these events with incredible poise and a clarity for details. She shares her story so that younger generations can understand a moment in history when unchecked power and prejudice led to the slaughter of millions.

Prisoner Number A26188: Henia Bryer makes the horrors of the Holocaust incredibly vivid and tactile, but it also celebrates our potential to survive even the most savage ordeal with an open heart free from hatred.

Directed by: Lisa Bryer

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5 Comments / User Reviews

  1. voluntaryist

    I have watched these documentaries for 60 years. Recently I saw one worthy of my attention. It delved into the mind of the victims during the attack on their humanity. Not the emotions after their fate was sealed, out of their hands, but before, when they had freedom of choice. Noone had done this before. It is of paramount importance. It helps explain why they allowed, even participated in this atrocity. Yes, it is inconceivable to most that the victims self-enslaved, enabled their persecutors. But they did.

    How can this ever be stopped without full awareness of the role played by the victims?

    The Holocaust was not an isolated event peculiar to only that time. It has happened continuously throughout history down to the present. I contend it is happening now all over the world. Only willful blindness to it prevents awareness. Victims testify every day in America of gross injustice in the so-called justice system. The irony is, few nations tout themselves to be as free as America. It is not even in the top ten free.

    But before we get into why this "willful blindness" exists, a thorough documentary is needed. One which asks the correct questions of the survivors and the people who avoided being "survivors". Not all passively accepted the persecution. Some took evasive action and saved themselves. There lies the beginning of the end of these atrocities. Or, we can continue to wallow in the emotionalism of victimhood and learn what? Are we to conclude that this is unavoidable? That what was and is shall always be?

    As one aware of the continuing little atrocities all around us in "the land of free and home of the brave" I know this is not true. All that is required to admit the truth is a little courage and honesty. What is at stake? What is the consequence of continued willful blindness? The lives of individuals? More. The fate of our species depends on an examination of our political myths.

  2. GunnarInLA
  3. GunnarInLA a wonderful and powerful post by voluntaryist! I agree with every word...
    I was going to comment on this: "...She shares her story so that younger generations can understand a moment in history when unchecked power and prejudice led to the slaughter of millions...."
    ...yes, but...nothing has been learned...nothing at all. The US doesn't seek to avoid "the horrors of the past" – the US wants to replicate them, only worse! – And so far, the US gets away with it – no matter the atrocities committed by the US, it gets defended and supported by..."progressives"!!! – ...and these same "progressives" are not in any way shape or form interested in "truth"...they are perfectly fine with wholesale slaughter of the innocent and defenseless – as long as it's done while smiling...constantly smiling...
    I won't watch this makes no difference – yesterday's victims will be tomorrow's abusers...

  4. Kate
  5. Kate

    What a brave story to tell, in our world of internet selfies and constant attention seeking I wonder how any of us can understand the trauma that woman endured.

  6. Last Viewer
  7. Last Viewer

    The worst of any & all holocaust is indeed : -"Yesterday's victims will be tomorrow's abusers". No need to be Jewish to experiment this. Just be a citizen here and there.

  8. Terry West
  9. Terry West

    There doesn't seem to be any rational solution to mankind's madness, short of his filling the skies with mushroom clouds.

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