Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Triumph of the Spirit is the true story of Salamo Arouch, a Greek-Jewish boxer imprisoned in Auschwitz during World War II. Arrested while attempting to help his family and friends escape the Nazi juggernaut, Arouch (Dafoe) is slated for extermination. He manages to survive--and to serve as an inspiration for his fellow inmates--by literally boxing for his life. He does this at the orders of his SS captors, who gamble on the outcome of Arouch's bouts. With each victory, Arouch is rewarded with extra bread rations, which he passes on to his family. Counterpointing the main story is the seemingly foredoomed romantic relationship between Arouch and female inmate Allegra (Wendy Gazelle). An uplifting coda rounds out this grim factual account. Triumph of the Spirit was filmed on location at Auschwitz--the first film of its kind to be lensed in that infamous locale.
Holocaust, boxing, concentration-camp, prison, inmate, family, struggle, survivor