Director: Claire Ferguson
Country of Origin: UK-Austria- Poland-USA 2016 78 mins. (12A)
Released by Dartmouth Films
For the survivors of the Holocaust, liberation came over 70 years ago, but what happened during the war still burns inside. DESTINATION UNKNOWN captures the pain that continues to haunt them, and the resilience needed to live on.
Using only the survivors' own words, the film weaves a vivid narrative of lives stained by genocide. We trace their journeys from the outbreak of war, through the misery of the ghettos, to the unimaginable horrors of the camps. Most important of all, we see light in the darkness as they make new lives from the ruins of the old.
Twelve survivors, twelve families torn apart by the Holocaust, twelve people striving to build a new future after the war.
Blending unique and intimate testimony with immersive archive, DESTINATION UNKNOWN unveils the human stories underlying the events of the Holocaust. These include one of the few escapees from the terror of Treblinka, and an exclusive interview with Mietek Pemper, who helped Oskar Schindler compile his List.
The film traces the narrow paths to survival, whether in hiding, fighting as partisans, or through enduring the camps such as Kraków-Płaszow, Mauthausen and Auschwitz-Birkenau. While a few managed to escape, most had to try to find a way to stay alive until the end of the war.
Their stories do not end with liberation. We see how they had to survive the chaos that came afterwards, and their attempts to build new lives.
Director Claire Ferguson said: “I wanted to make a film where the only voices are those of the survivors themselves, to capture something of the intimacy and immediacy I felt when talking with some of them directly. The challenge was to weave those individual voices together in a way that created a wider story, one that explored not only the pain of the Holocaust itself, but the building of new lives afterwards. My overriding question was ‘How can you make a life after such pain?’”