homemade production but don’t let that stop you from watching this compelling docudrama with heart.
Max Fronenberg, a Polish Jew who survived a concentration camp outside Warsaw by digging a tunnel, is the subject of this film, done by his grandson. It’s split between documentary and re-enactment of events that happened during and shortly after the war.
The re-enactment portions are done with obvious love and respect for Max and his considerable accomplishments. Unfortunately, it barely rises to an amateur level - terrible costumes, hairstyles, EYEBROWS. These things are difficult to over look and very distracting. Fortunately, the story is amazing and Max is a guy you’re gonna love so it’s not impossible to focus on WHAT is happening rather than how it looks.
While in the camp, Max meets Rena, “the youngest girl in the place”, and he falls head over heels for her. Due to their circumstances, their relationship is limited to a few stolen moments every few days. Because Max is so well liked by the German guards, he’s able to keep Rena safe as a seamstress and he makes her boots, shoes, and keeps her paperwork from “coming up”, a life sparing “favor”.
Max’s good relationships with the guards and his ability to get them to trust him are what ultimately enable him to organize the digging of the escape tunnel. He and 16 others, including his father, were able to successfully escape from the prison camp in Warsaw. Max hooked up with an Underground Railroad and eventually made his way to Canada.
There’s lots more to this story and eventually he and Rena do find each other; a delayed love story that’s lovely and destined from their early years in the horrors of Warsaw. You won’t want to miss it.
Some of the footage from the concentration camp is very difficult to watch: skeletal bodies being gassed, dumped in mass graves, jammed into gas chambers, hangings, point blank shootings of adults and children. None of this is done gratuitously but it is stark. It’s shown in black & white which for me, keeps it from being graphic. Also, the images and scenes do not linger, it’s not sensationalized in anyway.
With the above in mind, this film would be a good vehicle to introduce the tragedy of the Holocaust to your mature children; perhaps 12-14+ depending on their emotional maturity. In no way should they watch without an adult who’s prepared to discuss the subject and answer questions. Definitely not for younger children but the family theme is strong and the grandson’s love for his grandparents is beautifully displayed. After watching this special film you will be certain that indeed “There is Many Like Us”🍿
April History Fact or Fiction 2021 #12