Swimming in Auschwitz (2009)

Genres - Culture & Society, History  |   Sub-Genres - Biography, Military & War  |   Run Time - 60 min.  |   Countries - United States   |  
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Filmmaker Jon Kean explores an aspect of the Holocaust left largely unexplored in the annals of history with this look at six women who survived incarceration in the most notorious concentration camp of all. While male testimonies concerning the unimaginable hardships of living in Auschwitz have been well documented, the experiences of women who were forced to endure the exact same physical conditions have been curiously omitted from public record. By documenting the grueling hardships experienced by six women who came to Auschwitz from locations all over Europe, Kean highlights the unbreakable spirit of the survivors who refused to give up hope no matter how grim their circumstances became. Separated from their families, forced into cramped trains for three days with no food or water, and subsequently stripped, shaved, and tattooed before being forced to sleep outside while their quarters were prepared and the smell of crematoria filled the night air, nine out of ten women didn't even survive the initial stages of internment. For those who did, however, things would get much worse before they got better; emotional survival was nearly as difficult as physical survival. Now, for the first time on film, their remarkable stories are told from the years preceding World War II, to the notorious death marches that followed their stay in Auschwitz, the ultimate experience of liberation, and the memories that would haunt them for decades after their harrowing ordeal.