The Podkamieners is a series of short films that reimagines the Holocaust documentary genre by juxtaposing rich and realistic animation with moving first and secondhand accounts. The series follows a group of related Holocaust survivors who were forced to flee their small town of Podkamien, Poland and hide in the woods at the peak of WWII.
Each film in “The Podkamieners” illustrates stories of survival that words alone could not justify, from a family of 30 finding refuge in the basement of a monastery, to a mother and son hiding in a coffin-sized bale of hay for more than 16 months.
But beneath those extraordinary stories lies the subtext of the lingering aftermath of the Holocaust, and its effects on survivors and their children alike. The films are punctuated by the complex nuances of surviving genocide, highlighting the contrast between those survivors who choose to remember their experiences and those who’d prefer to forget.
The Sarid Family
Four siblings share how their late father turned being a sole survivor into the essence of their family’s foundation.
Fay and Josh
Two siblings exchange personal recollections of their survival as young children during WWII.
Benny recounts a childhood filled with war-torn memories in what became a real life game of hide and seek.
Mark describes in powerful detail some of the near-death experiences of the war that left him with haunting memories.
Isidore reveals how he and his mother hid buried in a bundle of hay for nearly a year and a half, with nothing but the clothes they had on.
Podkamien (also referred to as Pidkamin or Podkamen) is a small town, formerly located in Poland in the province of Galicia, and currently located near the town of Brody in Ukraine's Lviv region.
Podkamien means 'at the foot of the rock,' or 'below the rock,' with pod meaning foot and kamien meaning rock. The town takes its name from its prominent inselberg, known as the 'Devil's Rock,' under which a church was built.
Prior to WWII, Podkamien had approximately 2,000 inhabitants, about half of which were Jewish. According to the participants in this film, only 60-70 Jews survived.
TIMELINE OF PODKAMIEN DURING WWII
- 1939: Russia and Germany divide Poland in the Molitov-Ribbentrop Pact. Russia takes over the area of Poland where Podkamien is located.
- 1941: Germany breaks the pact and invades Podkamien.
- 1942: The remaining Jewish community is deported to the Brody Ghetto.
- 1943: The Brody Ghetto is liquidated. Inhabitants are either taken to concentration camps or flee to the woods.
- 1944: Podkamien is liberated by the Soviet Union.
Credit: Jewish Gen KehilaLinks
Director ｜ Editor
Sarah Kamaras is a New York based independent producer and director of short form and branded content. At least that's the medical term for it. Above all, she considers herself a storyteller.
Previously, Sarah produced award-winning news videos at NowThis, working on original series for Facebook as well as their Snapchat platform.
She holds a BS in Film from Boston University.
Erika Street Hopman
Erika Street Hopman is a producer and director of documentaries, short films, radio programs, and educational videos. She is co-founder of ChavoBart Digital Media, a company that specializes in developing, producing, and distributing short-form multimedia content on behalf of educational, environmental, and scientific organizations. Erika holds a BA in Biology from Cornell University and an MFA in film production from Boston University.
Chris Anderson is a one-time lobsterman, carpenter, mason and bartender; part-time sculptor, full-time dad and mail-order minister (weddings a specialty!) who has managed to parlay all that glamor, skill and prestige into a career in sound, sound design and music.
Clients include documentary work for the acclaimed Frontline series, as well as Nova and American Experience on PBS, independent and wide-release features (Detroit, American Hustle, The Finest Hours, Joy) and many other projects.
Tom Phillips has scored nearly 500 projects for national and regional networks, museums, independent films, and commercials.
He has been nominated for 2 music Emmys and scored 4 prime time Emmy winners that have won Best Documentary, and has scored 10 films that have gone to Sundance. Included in his projects have been dozens of films for American Experience, Nova, Independent Lens, the Antiques Roadshow theme, and even Henry Fonda's final film (an ABC movie of the week with Myrna Loy).
Ace & Son Moving Picture Co.
Ace & Son Moving Picture Co. LLC is an award-winning design and animation production company in New York City, founded and led by Richard O’Connor. Their work has aired on PBS, HBO and National Geographic and have been featured at various film festivals including the TriBeca Film Festival, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, The Hamptons Film Festival, The Chase Community Giving Awards, The Intelligent Channel.
Jacob Kamaras works with non-profits and other organizations to take their written marketing materials to the next level through thoughtfully crafted op-eds, blogs, and various other forms of content. He is the editorial director of J Cubed Communications, a Tel Aviv-based international PR firm. Previously, he spent more than a decade in journalism, including five years as the first editor in chief of the Jewish News Syndicate (JNS.org), where he grew the organization into a well-respected provider of national and international news to more than 75 Jewish and Christian print/online media outlets worldwide.
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