Reaching beyond conventional portrayals of the Holocaust's legacy, ANDRE'S LIVES explores the tension between the collective obligation to remember and the personal need to forget.
Dubbed "the Jewish Schindler," Bauhaus trained architect Andre Steiner saved thousands of Slovak Jews. The last surviving member of the secret and illegal Jewish "Working Group" in Slovakia, Andre helped save over 7000 from deportation to Auschwitz (almost six times as many as Schindler). His complex rescue effort involved bribing Nazi and Slovak officials in order to build labor camps to keep Jews employed and safe from deportation.
After testifying before a war-crimes tribunal against one of the Nazi's he bribed, Andre emigrated to Atlanta, rebuilt his life, becoming a successful architect. He chose never to look back, or share his story. The cost of his secret was his marriage, distance from his sons and a sacrifice of emotional connections.
Now, at 89, he returns to Europe with his sons to grapple with traumatic memories for the first time. During the film he begins to forge new relationships with his sons and his past. His resistance to exploring his history unfolds on camera through a complex dynamic, as father and sons struggle to make sense of the present by wrestling with the past.
ANDRE'S LIVES seeks to understand the legacy of the Holocaust, by probing the many dimensions of one man's experiences and his post-War battle to put it behind him.
"ANDRE'S LIVES is the story of two very personal journeys. The first deals with a holocaust survivor's return to his past, while the second illustrates the poignant attempt by two sons to find the father they never knew. ...a wonderful film not only for looking at the Holocaust, but also for examining dysfunctional family relationships." - Robert Freeborn, MC Journal: the Journal of Academic Media Librarianship
World Premiere, 1999 New York Jewish Film Festival
Honorable Mention, 1999 Film Fest New Haven
"This story of personal imperfections, family relationships, and moral choices ultimately serves as a vehicle for the humanization of tragedy." - Jerome A. Chanes, National Foundation for Jewish Culture
"It succeeds in depicting the fact that the Holocaust was inflicted on individuals - one by one by one - and that for the survivors and for their children and families, the story never ends." - Ralph Runewald, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
"Engrossing, powerful ... a deeply moving knockout." - Atlanta Journal and Constitution