Arts & Culture: Documentary on Refugee Children During World War Ii Wins and Oscar

A Holocaust survivor, a legendary folk singer and a documentary on refugee children during the Nazi era were among the Jewish artists and themes sharing the spotlight during this year’s Academy Awards ceremonies.

Branko Lustig, who was a child prisoner in Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, won his second Oscar on Sunday night for co-producing best picture award winner “Gladiator.”

Lustig earned his first statuette in 1993 as co-producer of “Schindler’s List.” He began his acceptance speech then with the words, “My number was A3317; I’m a survivor.”

Folk singer and composer Bob Dylan, born Robert Allen Zimmerman, won the best original song for his composition “Things Have Changed” from the film “Wonder Boys.” He performed the song via satellite from Sydney, Australia.

Marcia Gay Harden, a non-Jewish actress, received an Oscar as best supporting actress for her wrenching portrayal of American Jewish artist Lee Krasner in “Pollock,” a biographical film about painter Jackson Pollock.

The evening’s most moving remarks may have been those delivered by Deborah Oppenheimer, whose “Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport” was named best documentary feature.

The film chronicles the rescue of some 10,000 children, mostly Jews, from Nazi- dominated Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia in the 18 months leading up to World War II, their reception in Great Britain, and their lives after the war.

Oppenheimer dedicated her Oscar to “the survivors of the Kindertransport.”

She also dedicated it “to their parents who loved them so much that they had the courage to send them away” and “to the memory of my mother, who was among the 10,000 children, and to my grandparents, whom she never saw again.”

Mark Jonathan Harris, director and writer of “Into the Arms of Strangers,” spoke of sharing “the pain and triumph of the people in our film. They have enriched all our lives.”

Harris previously directed “The Long Way Home,” a documentary about Holocaust survivors, which won an Oscar for its producer, the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

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