Once We Were Jews

A multigenerational portrait of the Jewish Steinitz family from East Berlin: they survived the Holocaust in Sweden. Part of the family returned to East Berlin to build up a new, antifascist Germany in the German Democratic Republic. Economist Klaus Steinitz was loyal to the ruling SED until the fall of the Berlin Wall and supported the GDR’s anti-Israeli policy. His daughter Katrin, in contrast, promoted the political transition as a member of the Neues Forum, which was part of the civil rights movement. Her two sons Benjamin and Matti were actively engaged in fighting the growing neo-Nazi scene in the early 1990s. It was not uncommon for them to encounter antisemitic resentment among leftists. Seeking their Jewish identity, they organized a large family gathering with relatives from around the world. The film documents this unusual event; family members talk about their mixed feelings about their Jewish background and what it means for their political self-understanding.

Year:
2019
Length:
61 minutes
Country:
Director:
Frank Gutermuth

Shown at

  1. Jewish Film Festival Berlin & Brandenburg - 2020

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