Movie poster made from a family photo of my mom and aunt before they were split up.
Auf Wiedersehen: 'Til We Meet Again (2010)
Author and activist Linda Mills pries open the darkly guarded doors of history as she takes her comedic son and opinionated mother to Vienna, Austria where they discover an astonishing array of collaborators, victims, perpetrators and unlikely heroes in a startlingly humorous adventure spanning from World War II to 9/11.
from the site:
In this compelling and often funny tale of recovery and renewal, author and activist Linda Mills is propelled by her family's life-threatening experience of September 11, 2001 to return to the site of her mother's flight from Vienna, Austria in 1939. Accompanied by her comically bored ten-year-old son, Ronnie, her highly opinionated and wholly engaging mother Annie and Aunt Rita, Linda discovers unsettling truths that upend a series of familial and historical myths. In never before filmed archives in the Jewish Community in Vienna, a new generation of archivists and historians, many of whom are themselves descendants of Nazis, painstakingly reconstruct the records of the Jewish exodus. In her family's files, Linda discovers a complicated story of escape, deception, and even - dare we say - complicity with the Nazis. Auf Wiedersehen is an unconventional documentary that brings the lessons of history into the present day through the eyes of an irreverent ten year-old-boy. Along the way, the family discovers an astonishing array of collaborators, victims, perpetrators, and unlikely heroes in a startlingly humorous adventure spanning five generations.
Featured in the Film
Peter Goodrich, LL. B., Ph.D., (Producer/Writer/Camera/Boom Operator) is a professor of Law and Director of Law and Humanities at the Cardozo Law School at Yeshiva University. He also teaches a course on film and the law at New York University. He was the founding dean of the department of Law, Birkbeck College, University of London, where he was also the Corporation of London Professor of Law. He has written extensively in legal history and theory in the areas of law, literature and semiotics and has authored 10 books. He is managing editor of Law and Literature, and on the editorial board of Law and Critique. Recent books include (with Mariana Valverde) Nietzsche and Legal Theory: Half-Written Laws (Routledge, 2006); and (with Lior Barshack and Anton Schutz) Law, Text, Terror (Routledge, 2006). His most recent book is Laws of Love: A Brief Historical and Practical Manual (Palgrave-Macmillan,2006).
Lothar Hölbling was born in Vienna in 1970. After graduating from the Lycée Français de Vienne, he studied history and numismatics at the University of Vienna. After receiving his degree in 1996, Hölbling worked on several research projects in cooperation with the Archive of the University of Vienna. As part of his military service, Hölbling worked at the Austrian Military History Museum where he conducted research pertaining to the provenance of artifacts and militaria in the collection of the Museum that had been expropriated from their Jewish owners during the Nazi period. In 1999, Hölbling began working as a historian for the Holocaust Victims' Information and Support Center of the Jewish Community Vienna where he played an active role in the discovery of the community's archival holdings in 2000 in a vacant apartment. From 2001 to 2003 he served as the Head of the Department of the Holocaust Victims' Information and Support Center. From 2004 to 2009 he led the Archive of the Jewish Community Vienna and in this capacity was responsible for the reconstruction of the entire archive that was forced shut by Adolf Eichmann in 1938.
Hannah Lessing is the Secretary General of the National Fund of the Republic of Austria for victims of National Socialism and the General Settlement Fund of Austria (www.nationalfonds.org), is also head of the Austrian delegation to the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research. Lessing participated in the negotiations on compensation topics conducted by Under-Secretary of State Stuart Eizenstat, member of the Austrian delegation headed by Ambassador Sucharipa for the Joint Statement signed in Washington in January 2001 and has lectured extensively on the National Fund and the General Settlement Fund, as well as in connection with international commemoration activities regarding the Holocaust. Lessing is Austrian and Jewish, the daughter of a Holocaust Survivor from Austria. She grew up in this country at a time when the general teaching and political view of Austria's role during WWII was of first victim. For the last 15 years she has tried to find a sensible way to confront Austrian history, to educate the young Austrians and to build a bridge to the survivors 60 years later, at a point where they thought that nobody will ever care.
Klaus Maurer works at Volkshilfe Österreich - People's Aid Austria. Born 1969 in Austria, Klaus has a Master's degree in political science and cultural anthropology at the University of Vienna. In addition to his studies in post-colonialism, third-world topics, and the history of Latin American indigenous peoples, Maurer has done anthropological field studies and social work with refugees in Guatemala, and travelled through South America and India. His years of social work in Vienna, guiding and accompanying refugees in their daily life and through the asylum process influence his current position lobbying for asylum, migration, and integration within one of the big NGOs in Austria. "It's important to bring together academic theory and s ocial practice."
Anne Meisler Mills fled the Nazis in 1939 when she received a visa from a distant cousin living in Los Angeles. Anne was just 13 years old when she traveled from Vienna to England, by train, and took the Cunard Line's Samaria ship to New York City. Eventually, she traveled by train to Hollywood. Her sister, Rita Meisler Sinder, took the Kindertransport to England when she was 9. Naftali Meisler, their father, was picked up on Kristallnacht in Vienna and transported to Poland, where he escaped from a train destined for a concentration camp. Their mother, Chawe Meisler, traveled to Poland to meet her husband, once her children were bound for the US and England. The Meisler parents arrived safely in Los Angeles in January 1941, where they opened a blouse manufacturing company called NaMa Blouse; they also purchased real estate. Naftali died at 89 and Chawe at 88, after living a successful and fulfilling life. Anne Meisler Mills helped run the family business and continues to manage the buildings at age 83.
Linda Mills, (Producer/Co-Director/Writer/Subject) is Professor of Social Work, Public Policy and Law at New York University where she teaches a course on film and advocacy. As producer, her projects have included The Reality Show: NYU and The Heart of Intimate Abuse, for which she received a Telly Award. Auf Wiedersehen, 'Til We Meet Again is her first feature film and directorial debut. She is the author of numerous articles and books on intimate abuse and trauma. Her work has been published by Basic Books, Princeton University Press and Harvard Law Review. She has been featured in the New York Times Magazine, Los Angeles Times, People, USA Today, Harpers and Queen, and Glamour.
Herbert Posch of the University of Vienna's Institute for Contemporary History and the University of Klagenfurt's Institute for Science Communications and Higher Education Research is a historian and museologist. Recent focuses include Intellectual Migration and Exile Studies history of universities and students in the 20th Century (focus National Socialism) and Art loss and restitution in Austria. Recent publications include "Anschluß" und Ausschluss 1938. Vertriebene und verbliebene Studierende der Universität Wien. ["Connection" and exclusion 1938. Displaced and remaining students at the University of Vienna.] (with Doris Ingrisch and Gert Dressel) and inventARISIERT [Inventoried: Provenance Research Aryanised Restitution and housing facilities in moveable collections of the Federal Administrative] in Gabriele Anderl et al (eds.): significantly more cases than expected, 10 years Commission for Provenance Research (Library of the Commission for Provenance Research 1).
Doron Rabinovici, born in Tel Aviv, lives in Vienna, is a writer, essayist and an historian. His thesis (doctorate) and scientific study “Instanzen der Ohnmacht”, published in 2000, is a reconstruction of Vienna's Jewish administration during the Third Reich. As the writer of the short story collection, Papirnik, novels such as Ohnehin and Suche nach M. Roman, the collection of essays Credo und Credit, and others, Rabinovici has won awards such as Mörike-Förderpreis of the city of Fellbach (literary award), Heimito-von-Doderer-Förderpreis of the city of Cologne (literary award) and Cultural award of the city of Vienna, Clemens-Brentano-award of the city of Heidelberg and Jean-Améry-award, Author of the year of the literary journal Buchkultur, and the Willy und Helga Verkauf-Verlon award of the Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance (DÖW) for Austrian anti-fascist publicistic. His new novel, Andernorts will be published in the Fall of 2010.
Rita Meisler Sinder as a child, left Vienna Austria on a Kindertransport and arrived in London where she was taken in by a kind family. After a year, she crossed the Atlantic Ocean by herself at age 10 where she was greeted by her parents and sister in Los Angeles. Rita Meisler Sinder has lived in Los Angeles most of her life. She graduated from the University of Southern California with a BS Degree in Business Administration and Real Estate. She is Vice President of the Jasin Co. in Encino. Rita is also a community and Israeli activist and has been involved in these causes since her days at USC. She is a past President of the SFV Women's Division of Israel Bonds and a past president of its Golda Meir Club. She is past president of World Alliance for Israel a Political Action Committee and continues to serve on its Board, and also on the National Executive Board. In addition she also serves on the Board of Temple Valley Beth Shalom. She and her husband, Jack are involved and active in a number of charitable organizations such as Jewish Federation, American Jewish University, Simon Wiesenthal Center, City of Hope, Susan Kommen Cancer Fund and many others. The Sinders have a daughter Sheri married to Jim and a son Alan married to Hiromi as well as three delightful granddaughters.
Editor and Composer
Pola Rapaport (Editor) is the writer, director and editor of many award winning films, including: HAIR: LET THE SUN SHINE IN; WRITER OF O, a portrait of the elusive author of the erotic novel Story of O; FAMILY SECRET, the story of the filmmaker's discovery of her long-lost secret Romanian brother; BLIND LIGHT, a story of a photographer's peak experience in a villa in Italy, starring Edie Falco and BROKEN MEAT, a portrait of the mad poet Alan Granville. Editor of several feature documentaries, including “Take It Back, The Movement for Democracy and Howard Dean”, “Grace Paley, Collected Shorts”, “Can You Hear Me” and “Fine Rain”. Sound editing Emmy nominee. Guggenheim Foundation Fellow and multi-grant winner. Graduate of the Institute of Film and Television at New York University.
Elizabeth Swados (Composer) has composed, written, and directed for over 30 years. She currently teaches drama at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. Some of her works include Trilogy, Alice at the Palace, Runaways, and Groundhog. Swados has been creating issue-oriented theater with young people for her entire career. This work has culminated in a theatrical extravaganza for New York University, The Reality Show, about college life in New York City. Recent productions include Atonement, an adaptation of S. Ansky's The Dybbuk, Spider Operas, Political Subversities, KASPAR HAUSER: a foundling's opera and a workshop of Dance of Desire. She has published novels, non-fiction books, children's books and poetry to great acclaim, and received the Ken Award for her book, My Depression.
Me: I love my mom - she is very much like her father Nathan. My Aunt Anne also has the Meisler Iron will. What Linda doesn't remember is the movie clip from 1960 (the boy in the life jacket is me) is moments after that shot was made - I broke my hip. I was shocked to see it tonight.
Please try and see this film - I'd love your impression of it.