Forging Identity

Directed by Jacques Falck

52 minutes / Color
English / English subtitles
Release: 2000
Copyright: 1999

In 1943, at the age of 17, Adolfo Kaminsky joined the underground French Resistance. Trained in the art of forgery, he quickly became the central figure in a vast network that provided false identity papers to Jewish men, women, and children throughout Nazi occupied Paris. By the end of World War II, his expert forgeries had helped thousands of Jews escape persecution.

FORGING IDENTITY tells the incredible story of Adolfo Kaminsky. Aided by rare archival footage and photographs, as well as candid interviews with Kaminsky and his fellow conspirators, the film chronicles his nearly 40 years spent underground.

In the years after the war, Kaminsky aligned himself with the few stalwarts who remained underground. Working with a clandestine International Emigration Network, he used his skills to help Holocaust survivors trying to reach Palestine. In the 1950s, he joined the fight for the liberation of Algeria, creating forgeries for members of the National Liberation Front. While later, he assisted leftist, anti-imperialist groups operating in Latin America.

In the film, Adolfo Kaminsky, now nearly 75 years old, is mostly seen alone in his apartment, surrounded by faded photographs, chemistry equipment, and old forgery tools, demonstrating some of his famous techniques and recalling, with a sense of nostalgia, those days and nights underground. His time is now occupied with trying to track down some of his old friends and colleagues - many of whom have passed away, others who have established normal lives, and no longer wish to be found.

A poignant investigation into a troubled past, FORGING IDENTITY recounts the remarkable 'underground' life of Adolfo Kaminsky, and explores the methods and motivations of a master forger. It is a rare glimpse into the clandestine world of underground resistance movements.

"Highly Recommended! Powerful! Beautifully shot… a poignant story, nostalgic and extremely moving, yet narrated in a cool, methodical manner strangely not at odds with the subject matter. Well edited, with a good deal of appropriately used archival footage. Often, archival footage can be excessive and overwhelming, but this editor uses it effectively."—Educational Media Reviews Online

Ways to Watch

Colleges, Universities, Government Agencies, Hospitals, and Corporations

Purchase DVD for $298.00

Select Accolades

  • 2001 Seattle Human Rights Film Festival


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