In 2003, fifty-eight years after its liberation, the Mauthausen-Guse
At first taking the form of a road trip doc—albeit a grisly one—the film soon poses a series of refreshingly original questions about commemorating the Holocaust, thanks to the spirit and biting wit of David, Esti, Gideon, and Ronel. Why do Jews visit Holocaust sites, anyway? How does the suffering of their now-deceased father compare to their second-generation anguish?
While sitting in the Nazi aircraft tunnel his father had been forced to dig—one of the siblings admits that there, on this journey, he could finally feel his father’s presence as he never had in life.
But more often, these heirs to their father’s pain resist the notion that sites are the most effective conduits to memory. The tunnel, the quarry, the barrack “makes [the Holocaust] more tangible,” says Esti, “but it was already inside of me.”