'To Auschwitz & Back: The Joe Engel Story' DVD: Holocaust Survivor Shows Importance of 'Never Forget'
Dreamscape Media and the Holocaust Education Film Foundation teaming up to release the documentary "To Auschwitz and Back: The Joe Engel Story" demonstrates an admirable commitment to record the stories of Holocaust survivors before even more of them pass away. Engel is a 90 year-old long-time resident of Charleston, South Carolina.
"Auschwitz” opens on the surprisingly upbeat note of photos of a ceremony marking the naming of a Charleston Street for Engel. The focus then shifts to Engel and his nephew/surrogate son beginning the narration of the story of Engel during the World War II era. This story begins with the early childhood of Engel, his life in the Warsw ghetto, and his subsequent time in a concentration camp. We also learn how he comes to live in Charleston.
An amazing aspect of this is the archival footage that it is difficult to believe that Hitler considers positive propaganda. These images from the camps and of Nazi soldiers enjoying their work are among the worst that have been released.
The stories that Engel shares from his time in the camps includes an incident in which the guards are cruel just to be mean; we also get stomach-turning stories regarding the overcrowding.
Engel further tells us of his contributions to the war effort in the period after leaving the camp. Learning of a sanctioned "Purge" style night of wilding is very surprising.
Seeing the dedication of the nephew to his uncle is very nice; this includes a highly symbolic act that is virtually irreversible,
The entire film goes beyond putting a personal face on the Holocaust. We get detailed insight that literally goes from the beginning of the genocide to the present.
The bonus material includes two separate films that solely consist of distressing archival footage of Auschwitz and of the Warsaw ghetto.