In the mirror of memory: 75 years after the end of World War II

Christoph Heubner of the International Auschwitz Committee on the opening film THE EUPHORIA OF BEING and the series DOK.focus lasting memories

Dear festival team, dear guests of the opening ceremony,

In these days and weeks survivors of the Holocaust all over the world remember the murder of their families and their liberation from the Nazi concentration and extermination camps - pushed into a world in which they had been left all alone.

Most of the survivors were very young at the time, like 19-year-old Éva Fahidi, who was able to flee from one of the death marches from a subcamp of Buchenwald Concentration Camp. Today – at the age of 94 – she is the wonderful narrator, dancer and protagonist of your opening film THE EUPHORIA OF BEING. In the memory of her murdered family and the merciless efficiency of the murderers, Éva Fahidi insists to this day on living and loving her life – with all the people who surround her and whom she shares her memories, insights and experiences with this film and with her books.

Again and again, her urge to move, her creativity, her expressiveness and her joy of life is a crystal clear and conscious response to the absolute will to annihilation to which she, her family, the other Jewish families in Europe and the Sinti and Roma were exposed in those dark times of gas and mass graves. And yet all creativity can never overcome the weight of loss and the burden of remaining alone. Everything is done with the courage of doubt and despair.

This is how Auschwitz survivors all over the world understand their friend Éva Fahidi from Budapest, and this is how they feel connected to her and the other participants in the film: They are grateful that documentary testimonies like this film will remain once they are gone and the world is in danger of forgetting the historical facts of perpetrators and victims and of stirring up what happened in a great mush of emotions.

And they are very grateful to you, dear festival team, for choosing this opening film and the DOK.focus lasting memories series to place yourself at the side of the survivors of this danger and thus to take up their memories and their lives and present them to the world as stones of shock. We thank you for your creativity and perseverance and wish you – in these very special times – a great and informative festival.

Christoph Heubner

Executive Vice President of the International Auschwitz Committee

Here you can find all films in our DOK.focus lasting memories series.

Here you can access THE EUPHORIA OF BEING, the opening film of the DOK.fest Munich @home (available from May 7th to 17th, 2020).