My family didn’t speak about the past. My grandfather left Poland as a young man, and never talked about those he left behind. These deaths were cloaked in secrecy. It was a silence that led me to a lifelong search for roots – motivating me to pore over antique photos, to dig through hidden records, and to reach out to Uncle Benno.
My family warned me that Benno was a terrible man, who had abandoned his wife and child so he could escape the Nazi invasion. But Benno had the information I sought, and when I asked to visit him in Poland, he welcomed me. The Benno we see onscreen is alternatively abrasive and charming, inviting and defensive, maddeningly temperamental. But he also reveals his vision of the past.
I spent years as a broadcast journalist covering the impact of conflicts around the world. Until now I had been reluctant to turn the camera on myself, to make a personal documentary. But now, after watching Neo-Nazis march in Charlottesville, and fascists reemerge around the globe, I felt compelled to bring the story of my family to light, to honor the memories of the lost, and to figure out what actually happened to my relatives.