17 October 2011 | jsimon-188-279089
Where are Kalocsa's Jews?
This feature-length film by Gabor Kalman shifts back and forth from the usual "What happened?" focus of Holocaust documentaries to the question "What happens now?" It acquaints us with the efforts of a principled, activist individual to resurrect the disappeared Jewish history of a small Hungarian town, and--fleetingly--to reassemble the remains of a once-thriving community.
Kalman's intimate knowledge of the time and place--his own birthplace--and his persistence in interviewing those Jewish former inhabitants who survived the war brings urgency and heart to this material.
Part of its strength, in my opinion, lies in the implied extrapolations. Kalocsa is a small town with which almost no one is familiar. Here, in front of you, are those who witnessed the outrages of history. Now multiply the locations and the inhabitants and the outrages: the properties seized, the people exterminated, the choices to be made by the population who remained.
One commends the efforts of the film's central character, Gyongyi Mago to bring back the disappeared, living and dead, and to stimulate others to similarly honor those who have gone before us.