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Holocaust Survivors NZ Feature in Documentary Competition

Holocaust Survivors NZ Stories Feature in Documentary Conference Competition

NZers with links to the Holocaust feature in Documentary Edge competition.

A woman who met Anne Frank and whose husband taught her is living quietly in Churton Park.

96 year old Dora Suuring stars in AC Productions documentary, Lest We Forget, one of the finalists in the Documentary Edge competition to be judged in Auckland on 24 February.

“I won’t be there,” says the sprightly Dora Suuring, “But I’ll be in the cinema when the documentary screens in Wellington next month.” Mrs Suuring’s sight is failing but otherwise she is in good health.

Lest We Forget was made to accompany the Anne Frank exhibition currently touring the country. Wellingtonian Boyd Klap negotiated with Anne Frank House in Amsterdam and the exhibition is travelling round New Zealand for the next two years.

Documentary producer and director Anna Cottrell says it has been a real privilege to meet Dora and the other participants in the film. “I am really pleased for these brave people that their stories will now reach a wider audience,” says Cottrell who will be in Auckland for the awards.

After the Germans occupied Holland Dora and her then husband were held in a camp until the neighbouring farmer with access to BBC radio alerted them they were to be moved to Germany the following day. That night he cut the wire and three of them escaped.

Suuring helped her husband and parents hide from the Germans and “Because I was blonde and blue-eyed I didn’t look Jewish, I didn’t go into hiding.” As a scientist she had skills to offer and joined the Resistance, faking identity cards and hiding Jewish families.

Interviewer Ian Fraser is filmed with Dora Suuring and another Holocaust survivor, Steven Sedley who was a child in Budapest when Jews were rounded up and sent to the death camps. His family survived he says because they were lucky.

The documentary includes a sequence with Year 10 Students from Marlborough College listening to Aucklanders Bob and Freda Narev tell their stories of survival and asking questions. In Christchurch Cottrell interviewed Mieke Van Der Schaaf who with her Christian pastor husband hid children and families under the nose of patrolling Germans in Amsterdam. Their courageous actions went unheralded until a couple of years ago when Mieke was given a special award.

She has wanted to make a documentary celebrating the cultural gifts brought by generations of Jewish families to New Zealand


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