Documentary in the Making…and it Needs Your Help

August 30, 2011 by J-Wire Staff
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Two highly-respected members of the Australian film industry have joined forces to produce a documentary on how Lithuania is rewriting the history of the Holocaust.

Daryl Karp

Danny Ben-Menashe

Former Head of Factual Programming at ABC and former CEO of Film Australia, Sydney-based producer Daryl Karp, and Melbourne-based film director and academic Associate Professor Danny Ben-Moshe, have launched an ambitious and unique fundraising campaign to help complete a documentary in time to be broadcast with the 70th anniversary of the Wannsee Conference next January, and the Nazis adopting the Final Solution.

The important documentary film “Rewriting History” is about the rise of antisemitism in contemporary Lithuania and their attempts to rewrite the history of the Holocaust. The film explores how a modern government within the European Union is officially sanitising its dark antisemitic history and by doing so distorting and diminishing the memory of the Holocaust.

The film has been developed to date with funding from Film Victoria and Jewish philanthropic support. SBS are committed to screening the film with other broadcasters around the world also expressing strong interest. However, to get the film finished in time for the 70th anniversary of the Wannsee Conference in January 2012 and to include the key Holocaust survivors in the film (who are now in their seventies and eighties), the film makers have turned to the Jewish community for support. An ambitious film crowd funding campaign called “Give the truth a voice” is an Australian, and perhaps global, Jewish first.

Traditionally, a few individuals contribute large sums, but crowd funding allows multiple individuals to give smaller sums. Over the last few years, crowd funding has become increasingly common in documentary circles but usually on a small scale and over extended periods. Karp and Ben-Moshe’s objectives are far more ambitious and are taking film crowd funding in a novel new direction.

Karp explains that there are two ways in which the public can donate: “While people can make tax deductible donations through the Documentary Australia Foundation, we are also inviting people to buy their tickets now for a film they will see in six months. Ticket purchase will help make the film they will subsequently see”. Cinema screenings will be held in Melbourne and Sydney with DVDs available for those unable to attend.

The first genocide of the Second World War started in Lithuania in June 1941 and it preceded the arrival of the Nazis. Within 5 months, the majority of a 700-year-old Jewish community was wiped out and the extent of local collaboration was unprecedented.

Ben-Moshe’s campaign is to counter the Lithuanian Government’s Holocaust efforts to rewrite its history. The film captures his journey as he travels to the corridors of power in London, Brussels and Vilnius, after stumbling upon the injustices for the first time, while on a roots trip to his grandmother’s shtetl. He commented: “As part of Lithuania’s efforts to remove the stains of its past, Holocaust survivors have been investigated for ‘war-crimes’ and history is being rewritten. A Lithuanian court has ruled that the Swastika is not a Nazi symbol and as such can be openly displayed – and it is. It is a criminal offence in Lithuania to claim the Holocaust was genocide and the Lithuanian suffering under the Soviets was not. This is a story that has to be told and hopefully Australian Jewry will share that conviction”.

Another central character in the film is reknowned Yiddishist Professor Dovid Katz, who recently visited Australia on a speaking tour in Sydney and Melbourne.

A clip of the film and more information about the film and how to donate and buy tickets is available at

The “Give the truth a voice” crowd funding campaign was launched this week.

For more information go to


One Response to “Documentary in the Making…and it Needs Your Help”
  1. George Sternfeld says:

    Excellent initiative.
    We also need involvement of the younger generation in projects to remember Holocaust Survivors who came to Australia contributing to the Australian society in a positive way.

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