A short film that tells the story of Greek prisoners at Auschwitz won the “Best Drama” award at the 2018 Toronto Shorts International Film Festival.
The twenty-minute long short film called “Eleftheromania,” stars Oscar-winner Olympia Dukakis as an octogenarian Holocaust survivor who recounts the “whispers” in the camp about the Greek men with her journalist friend, portrayed by Anthoula Katsimatides.
David Antoniuk directed the film which was shot in Toronto and New York City.
Based on true events uncovered during four years of research by Gregory C. Pappas, including an entire week poring through archives at Auschwitz, the screenplay was written by Toronto native Joanna Tsanis, who also served as a producer, with Pappas and Chuck Scott.
Watch the trailer:
According to the research, over 400 men were “spared” the gas chambers when the train from Athens arrived at the death camp in Poland in June of 1944, only months before it was liberated. The train carried almost 2,000 Greeks from Corfu and various parts of the country.
Almost 1,600 women, elderly and children were immediately sent to the gas chambers but the 400 men were placed into quarantine so they could eventually be put to work in the camp.
After quarantine, they were assigned to Sonderkommando duty, which involved leading unsuspecting prisoners into the gas chambers and emptying the bodies and eating them to the furnaces for incineration.
The extraordinary event that transpired between the moment they were given their orders and the following morning when they were to assume their duties is the subject of the short film, which closes with a stunning rendition of the song “Minore Tis Avgis,” which was recorded especially for the film by Glykeria.
Listen to Glykeria’s rendition of Minore Tis Avgis, which closes the film “Eleftheromania”
For additional reading about Gregory Pappas’ research and the evolution of the Eleftheromania project, read:
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