TEL AVIV – To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Holocaust, Steven Spielberg teamed up with the Hollywood Reporter to honor 11 of Hollywood’s remaining Holocaust survivors in a groundbreaking testimonial.
Called “The Last Survivors,” the project took seven months to complete, and features audio and video testimonials from survivors in the entertainment world.
The feature includes testimonies from a host of actors, directors, producers, and writers, including director Roman Polanski, media personality and famed sex therapist Dr Ruth Westheimer, and Schindler’s List producer Branko Lustig.
“The truth of the matter is that the weapons of mass destruction are not bombs — they’re hatred, intolerance, and bigotry,” asserts one survivor.
The editorial feature, which was published in the Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday, includes an interview with Roman Polanski, one of the world’s highest profile Holocaust survivors. In it, Polanski recounts a day in the ghetto when prisoners were forced to stand in the town square while their children were being herded on to trucks bound for liquidation.
“It was apocalyptic,” the 82-year-old filmmaker recalls.
For the first time, Polanski discusses the hitherto unreleased footage from a five-hour testimonial he recorded in 2003, describing the pain he felt reliving the Holocaust while making his Oscar-winning film The Pianist.
The feature also includes an essay by the director of the USC Shoah Foundation, Steven Spielberg, explaining the necessity of projects such as this. In it, the Schindler’s List director laments that today, acts of genocide are given pitiful attention on the world stage, with the media only spotlighting them in fleeting moments.
“We are tackling that apathy by individualizing these crimes against humanity, by putting an actual face — many faces, in fact — on genocide,” Spielberg writes. “As long as we struggle to understand and confront the origins of hate, we will continue to suffer the casualties of it.”