Prisoner Number A26188: Henia Bryer

Prisoner Number A26188: Henia Bryer

2015, History  -   21 Comments
Ratings: 7.94/10 from 85 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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21 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Chris

    The piano interferes with the narrative. It is annoying.

  2. Schlomo Hoaxstein

    Its amazing for a place that was supposedly gassing everyone when they arrived how many survived to tell the tale. Every survivor personally met Mengele too. He must have been a very busy guy, very personable too taking time out of his day to greet every prisoner.

  3. malleryknox

    If I was horrified watching this, I can not imagine how it would have been to experience first hand. She is the epitome of courage and grace. The love she shares with her husband is just so purely, profoundly, beautiful. We could all learn a lesson or two from them. Much respect.

  4. Scott

    This is so powerful. Henia tells her story with grace. Henia describes events in such detail with a soft and calm voice, it almost feels likea bedtime story. i was gasping outloud at the horrific events but I was often noticeably smiling at the life Henia established after the camps . The deep affection and love between Henia and her husband is palpable it is the finest documentary I have ever viewed and it was more impactful the second time I watched it.

  5. Stalin Muskowitch

    Woah, so much bull**** when many already know the WW2 lies, and the accounts of so called "survivors"... Top Documentaries, you are full of ****

    1. BeamMeUp

      You are correct. I'm surprised I didn't find comments criticizing you.

  6. Rosemarie Cometa

    She survived because she had to tell us about the terrors of the Holocaust. Made me appreciate more whatever I have now... I wonder if I could've survived such ordeal if I were her.

  7. Paul

    What a soul to have made it through all of that adversity. It rips my heart out to even think about what it must have been like to endure. If there is a God, may he keep this from happening ever again. May this never be repeated.

    1. Maxine

      If there were a god, why did he allow it to happen in the first place?....Let's face it, he must have been a very evil god.

    2. Joseph H Anthony

      Some complain that God must be cruel to allow this to happen. That He must be an evil God. The thing is, this ain't Heaven.

    3. Le Blanc

      God? Please. It is the duty of people who do not wish to see this happen again to rationalise god out of existence.
      PS It already has happened again in Europe, the Balkans in the 90's.

  8. Pat papaleo

    Thank the Good Lord or which ever God you believe in for this woman & all the people that went through this (lost for words)

    1. Maxine

      As implied above, this so called "Lord" should not be thanked but rather despised for allowing this atrocity to happen.

    2. Le Blanc

      Where was god in the camps?

  9. DustUp

    In other words: When good men do nothing, evil prevails.

    A nice truism but doesn't explain how or what to do nor get anyone to do anything except acknowledge the truth of it.

    Keep telling yourself no need to do anything, everything will be fine, this is the land of free home of the brave. What a joke, you aren't even brave enough to turn off the TV and gets some reality of what is really happening all around you. The courts are a worse than a scam. The police have been militarized and their training is that you are the enemy; and if you aren't real nice, to escalate to cause you the largest ticket and jail if possible. Gone are the days of a fair trial, with jury instructions designed to manipulate them into convicting you. Gone are the days of the "Norman Rockwell" friendly neighborhood policeman. A year ago one came to my door with a vest with enough gun clip pouches that would make a mass shooter jealous. No need for that where I live at all. Yet there it is. The military is supplying them with abusive weapons and vehicles. Who is your friend? Not govt. When is it time to stand up? Before its too late.

  10. DustUp

    If @voluntaryist had a video or opportunity where he spoke those words in public, he would be chastised, persecuted, threatened, etc. demonstrating BOTH "yesterday's victims will be tomorrow's abusers" -and- [yesterday's privileged will be tomorrow's abusers.] Note Bill Gates TED Talk about his favorite method of population control being vaccines. Also, but not on TED, his investment into Monsanto and spreading that GMO evil into South America. So yes, @Last Viewer makes a good point. If you went to most any public High School of any size in the usa, you can observe all sorts of abuse, for absolutely no reason, other than ego trippers. And what do the principal and the teachers who run the asylum do? As little as possible. Likely there may be the odd exception and good on them but what about the rest?

    And whose fault? As always, if the parents truly cared about their kids, they would gather together to straighten out the schools and make it a simple lawyer proof process to kick out the bad apples or move their kids to a private school, home school, or start a school. Money is the big issue, money talks, BS walks. When you can move your tax dollars slotted for education to the school of your choice, along with your kids ...better yet. Get govt out of education and many other things altogether. For those that cannot afford any school, some sort of tax voucher system would work. Would this mean the rich have the best schools? Less likely than now. When parents have to spend their money, not someone else's, they are going to see that it is well spent, for the most part. This means the dumbing down of education would end. It also means the punks and bullies would be kicked out of schools until they ended up at a school designed to reform them, where their actions have consequences that will cause them to change or learn the hard way on their own.

    In my limited experience of standing up against unneeded (actually benefiting the nation's enemies) detrimental project a corp. wanted to plant in our area because "We love going to the more rural unsophisticated, uneducated areas, which make our job pretty easy." It is the overwhelming majority of the direct impact victims which absolutely refuse to do one single thing about it, even when asked to write a simple letter to their congressperson or legislator, let alone volunteer to do more to raise funds for a legal fight. Whining about it doesn't count as anything since it does nothing.

    My understanding of the colonial revolution against England was similar. Only a small percentage stood up.

    I have often wondered what is the difference between those who cannot see any other path but to stand up and those who resist even helping those who are helping them? So far and until a better explanation is forthcoming, all I can conclude is that it is greed.

    What do people value beside what money can buy? Their time. Time greed. If they have to spend a second of time doing anything other than what they would rather do, then let some other sucker do it. I have so much resentment for these people, more so than the evil corps or whomever who always were and always will be; those otherwise nice folk who think it fine if you help them but not fine at all if they have to spend a second helping you help them. One nice lady said, "we are doing it for those who can't do it for themselves." Hogwash, you are just enabling them to be the time greedy punks that most of them are. As is the case much of the time, only a very minuscule minority could not manage to find some time somewhere to write a letter to an agency and their oversight in congress at appropriate times. That minority would be very close to zero. This is just to back up with a personal example that what @voluntaryist wrote was very accurate, even when there was no harm coming to anyone standing up.

    To bring the point of @GunnarInLA home: How had the Germans been abused prior to becoming the abusers? Greatly so by the abusive Treaty of Versailles. And of course who owned the banks who were trying to extract every last cent they could from the Germans in WW1 loans and reparations to France, etc. causing them to have to hugely inflate their currency in order to pay, thereby causing untold suffering by the Germans, wheelbarrowing cash to the stores to buy what they could? Who considers everyone else who isn't a Jew "goyim" (similar to the Muslim "infidel" who adopted such mentality from the Jews)? Of course this does not excuse what happened to the Jews at the hands of the Germans nor the Germans at the hands of Eisenhower after the war was in hand/won.

    Where are the recollection of the atrocities done by Stalin who was more than 10 times worse? I suggest that there were very few left to tell their story. And although this may be cathartic for the person, which is fine, it does nothing to solve or prevent; which I would think these individuals would be supremely interested in. However, I do understand. As with the corporate example above with the do nothings, once the project was finally aborted, what have I done to prevent other such projects, not a lot. The problem lies with whom the "wonderful" voters vote for. We could not get legislation passed to prevent. It matters not the party, it is the mentality of those running and voting. I know one of these legislators. His family thinks well of him, that he tries to do what is best for the people. That is only when it is convenient, a vote our way. When some in his party was threatening something, likely to spend money to run someone against him in the next election, he stabbed us all in the back. Meaning they don't really care at all what is best for the people, not even the country, just for themselves. Term limits would have easily prevented that part of the situation.

    People are so time greedy they are ignorant of most everything that is really going on. They refuse to do their homework and volunteer to be propagandized(lied to) in front of the boob tube with regularity.

    @Terry West doesn't seem to think there is any rational solution except nuking us all. Is that rational? Did @T W throw their baby out with the bath water? Did they shoot their cat and/or dog for refusing to obey commands that they never will obey under their current methods? @T W is a prime example of THE problem. No mind to see beyond history. It is the same problem of Bill Gates and his sick ilk who have a different method than @T W.

    Most any solution to a human problem is rather simple. Getting them to do it is the hard part since they have this inherent mental laziness, often living in a world that doesn't really exist, and time greed. They will spend all weekend and many similar weekends prettying up their place, in many cases since it adds monetary value as well as more aesthetic enjoyment. Yet if they are all about to be marched off into concentration camps, because they refused to stand up when they had the chance, what was all that time greed and aesthetic improvements worth now? There are quotes from past wise men regarding this subject. Yet what is the solution?

    It seems Parents will have to lead by example to instill in their kids that the news often is not true and to do their homework on anything heard before believing. Next they will have to lead by example to be involved, to gather together an hour or two a month to see to it decent, wise, honest, incorruptible, etc. people are running for all offices from all parties in numbers, and expose the truth about the frauds, so someone good will get in no matter who is voted for. I defy anyone to HONESTLY claim they cannot find 1 hour per month. All is not done. Good management requires not only delegation (the elected) but monitoring of assigned work. So monitors need be assigned to each elected person to report on their actions or lack thereof. As you can tell none of this is complicated and nothing that any good company does with their meetings, always looking to improve in every way. The problem is, no one feels it necessary to become "involved." Yet that IS the answer to any of this.

    What child steals from the cookie jar while you are watching them and standing in front of the jar? Clearly the supposed adults (cough cough) in govt need childlike supervision. Who is going to do it? Some other monitor group that you elect that can be bought like the rest? No. YOU will have to get involved for any real solution to the human problem of laziness and time greed which allows ALL the evil to happen.

    Will another documentary getting into the mentality of the victims prior to bad things happening to them, solve this? It could help some. But you already have the answer. It is you. Get off your backside, bring your friends and neighbors. Gather together. People have done it for a neighborhood watch program, why not a govt watch program to prevent tyranny from taking over, like it already has in the courts and police? Why not before its you getting tossed in jail for something you didn't do, like someone I know?

    Despite all the indoctrination in school and the media, the govt is NOT your friend. They actually consider you the enemy. If the banksters are the enemy and they have bought govt... Actually do some homework.

    By doing a websearch you can find:
    [As a state senator, Barack Obama made a name for himself as a defender of whistleblowers. And during the 2008 campaign he pledged that his administration would protect those who speak out against government abuse, arguing that their "acts of courage and patriotism, which can sometimes save lives and often save taxpayer dollars, should be encouraged rather than stifled."] --FP (ForeignPolicy). Obama also claimed he would be the most transparent. Yet both claims were lies. Edward Snowden was aiding in Obama's transparency and Obama wants to jail him. Same for every other whistleblower, several of which he did manage to jail. The Constitution is used when convenient and then maligned as a "living document that needs changed" by all who are your enemy.

    It is easy for the govt to divide and conquer. Separate out those who expose their illegal activity and lock them away or terminate them. What happens if you have a nationwide group that consists of nearly every able adult, excepting my do-nothing neighbors, is monitoring every govt person? You are over 100mln, how many are they? It can be done. It can be several per govt person. Tag team them so the time burden is very low. No secret meetings or govt person gets voted out for not booting out a lousy bureaucrat. It isn't that complicated. What about the CIA? Its origins never was for the benefit of the people. It was for the Banksters who are your enemy, if you haven't figured that out yet. Do your homework. All the people exposing govt to each other. That is the defacto transparency which govt will NEVER provide. You cannot make wise decisions until you know the rest of the story. Easy to know if you take the time you spend in front of the Boob Tube and instead take that time to make a few mouse clicks. Could the fake news even exist if you already knew the truth? It wouldn't matter because no one would watch. When no one watches the gig is up. The socialist-communist-progressives will have to compete out in the open against far better ideas, rather than having their major media continually hammering their propaganda. Gather together. It works.

    At the onset of any organization, include the intent and purpose of the Constitution in its By-Laws in order to delay its take over by the progressive socialist-communist useful idiots as Lenin called them, whom attempt to aid and abet their own demise as well as yours. In time many of those useful idiots will figure out they have been duped when exposed to enough sane people. Or they will go home and turn on the Boob Tube again. They seem well meaning but they also are underhanded back stabbers just like found everywhere else. However, if you are all about transparency, what can they expose, except themselves?

  11. Terry West

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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

    1. Dianne Tipton

      You guys don’t have girlfriends is my guess.