Destination Unknown is a documentary about the Holocaust like no other we’ve ever watched. No historians or experts have been summoned in the making of this film as quite uniquely, all the people talking about one of the most shocking event of the last century are Holocaust survivors.
After a chance meeting with the son of one of them, producer Llion Roberts spent more than a decade travelling the world gathering testimonies and memories. The result is an incredibly powerful documentary that should be shown to the increasingly worrying numbers of Holocaust deniers generated by conspiracy theorists who litter the dark recesses of youtube.
I was given the opportunity to briefly talk to Ed Mosberg, the 92 years young man who appears in the movie and whose portrait graces the poster of the movie. Ed, who migrated to the U.S in the early fifties with his wife Cesia, still has a very strong Polish accent and an extraordinary will for life. He is a man on a mission who was witness to some of the worst atrocities perpetrated by mankind and he will not allow the memories of it to fade away into obscurity.
Some Holocaust survivors cannot talk about their ordeal, whilst others like Ed will never stop doing so. It is a priority to them to share their stories with us and it is our duty to listen to them.
I asked Ed at what point in his life he started talking about the Holocaust and what had driven him to do so.
“You see, I lost my whole family and I am the only survivor so someone has to talk and say what happened to my whole family and my wife’s family. I don’t want this to be forgotten. I lost 16 members of my family in Belzec.* When I walk through that camp, I can still hear the cries of the 600.000 people and those of my family. Don’t forget.
How can we forget and forgive what happened to our families? Only the dead can forgive. I lost my 2 sisters. We were unable to prevent their deaths the first time round and we must not allow them to be killed again.
You see, I lost my 2 sisters and my wife’s sisters. They rounded up 7000 girls on the Baltic Sea, near Danzig and then they were drowned.** This is my duty, my obligation. For the 6 millions Jews who were murdered and the other people, not just the Jews. It is a very important documentary, for you to hear the survivors talking about it.
Who did you start telling your stories to?
I started talking about it, many years before I met Lion Roberts about 14 years ago. Then he started his documentary, and I showed him to the camps, the ghettos, where I had been, where we had all been. When he met other survivors, he made that film. I don’t want this to be forgotten because we are the survivors.
When you started talking about what you had witnessed, what were people’s reactions?
When I started talking, people were crying. But they realised that they really wanted to listen. They want to know what happened. So this is my duty and obligation for as long as I live, I will go and talk about it, because I am a witness to those atrocities. In March 1943, when they liquidated the Krakow ghettos, when a woman was holding a child in her arms, the nazis took the child from her arms and they smashed its head against a wall, killing it. So, this is the story.
Are you concerned about the rise of nationalism and do you think that something similar could happen again?
No, I don’t think that it could happen again. I don’t think so.
Do you think that it’s because we are listening to people like you?
Yes, that is right. Sure, you will find in some places that they are still nazis in the world, anti semites, you’ll find them. But not like it was before, no.
When all the survivors are no longer there, what can people like me do? How can we make sure that your testimony will be heard ?
You will be the second witness to it. You will be able to tell people “I’ve met a survivor and I heard his story. He was a witness to it and now I am a witness too.”
So please, listen to Ed and the other survivors, watch this documentary and talk about it so that the story of the Holocaust is never forgotten.
*Belzec was an extermination camp. Between 430,000 and 500,000 Jews are believed to have been murdered by the SS at Bełżec. Only seven Jews performing slave labour with the camp’s Sonderkommando survived World War II.
** The Nazis often killed large groups of prisoners before, during, or after marches. During one march, 7,000 Jewish prisoners, 6,000 of them women, were moved from camps in the Danzig region bordered on the north by the Baltic Sea. On the ten-day march, 700 were murdered. Those still alive when the marchers reached the shores of the sea were driven into the water and shot. (source: ushmm.org)
DESTINATION UNKNOWN in UK cinemas from 16th June 2017
Directed by Claire Ferguson
Produced by Lion Roberts
It is Gigatel Productions