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Me’kivun ha’yaar

Out of the Forest

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Based on entries in the rediscovered diary of a resident of Ponary, Me’kivun ha’yaar follows the traces it leaves behind back to the Lithuanian village, nearly sixty years later. Between 1941 and 1944, more than one hundred thousand people were murdered there in mass executions in a forest . Most of them were Jews from the nearby Vilna ghetto.
Limor Pinhasov and Yaron Kaftori’s film creates portraits of people who lived, and to some extent still live, in the direct vicinity of the execution site. Using excerpts from the diary, the film links together the memories of the village residents with those of the survivors. Without archival footage and by means of cautious, sensitively conducted interviews using an unobtrusive camera, the film succeeds in conveying an impression of the apparent normality in which the village community of Ponary continued to live while mass murder was taking place in their backyard. It lets viewers reflect on the individual responsibility we have for our fellow human beings. What responsibility do we carry and what burden do we take upon ourselves in our indifference toward other human beings and their suffering?

Israel 2003, 94 min

by

Limor Pinhasov Ben Yosef, Yaron Kaftori Ben Yosef