Back to the Fatherland

A documentary which follows the path of three families in different states of flux. All feature third generation Israelis, grandchildren of people who either fled or were victims of the Nazis in World War II. A tragedy of historic precedent…besides all the civilians and soldiers who died in the battles involved. We have all heard, read or seen materials, films or books which cover the atrocities which happened to the Jewish people.

Israel (whatever you think of that country) came about as a result of what happened during World War II. The Jewish people needed a country to call their own and to feel safe in. What they proceeded to do in the Middle East is to be debated somehwere else. This film tells the tale of grandparents and their grandchildren. Some who live in Israel and some who have moved to Germany or Austria in search of a better life.

Back to the Fatherland, directed by Kat Kohrer and Gil Levanon, is a measured look at both sides of the story. They shed light on several young and secular Israelis who have left Israel. The directors are part of the story. One is Israeli while the other is Austrian. Both have been affected by the past and are trying to figure things out.

The move by the grandchildren has been shown to have varying effects upon their grandparents. The direct survivors. Kat and Gil sought out these very people. People like them. People going through what they are. Gil is making the move from Israel to Germany. Her grandfather is crushed by that decision. Kat is Austrian and the granddaughter of a Nazi officer. Both are looking for role models. Those who have walked the paths they now find themselves going down.

A highlight of the film for me is a scene involving a group decussion amongst these young Israelis. The pain they still feel decades later. The incertitude they feel about Israel itself. Rarely do you get to to hear such frankness. Ordinary people who have no political axes to grind.

The film is in English, German and Hebrew with English subtitles.

For more information on the film go to

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *