I Have Never Forgotten You: The Life And Legacy Of Simon Wiesenthal (2007)
Richard Trank's documentary I Have Never Forgotten You: The Life and Legacy of Simon Wiesenthal joins Into the Arms of Strangers, The Power of Good, and other recent nonfiction films that reflect on WWII-era individuals emotionally invested in the pursuit of justice. This heart-rending film concerns Wiesenthal, a concentration camp survivor released from the Mauthausen Concentration Camp in 1945 on the verge of death from starvation. During his imprisonment, Wiesenthal dreamed of one day re-entering society and establishing himself as an architect, but the atrocities of the camp pointed Wiesenthal's life and career in a much different direction. When Wiesenthal returned to the outside world, with 89 of his family members exterminated by the Holocaust, he vowed to track down and bring to justice as many of the perpetrators of the Nazi atrocity as he could find - and spent years at this task, via a running list of the camp torturers, that he had secretly kept as a detainee. In the early years, with much of the world still ignorant of the extent of the Holocaust, Wiesenthal's was virtually a one-man operation, but in time, he joined forces with the American War Crimes Unit and U.S. Army War Crimes Committee to see the task through to fruition. All told, Wiesenthal helped incriminate an astonishing 1,100 individuals, including the leaders of the Sobibor and Treblinka camps, Adolf Eichmann and Josef Mengele - and his overarching goal, astonishingly, was not cold blooded revenge but a simple love of humanity - the need to free future generations from the dark shadow of the Nazi threat. To create this film in Wiesenthal's memory, Trank and his crew travel to multiple continents, and film exclusive interviews with those whose lives were touched by Wiesenthal, as well as Wiesenthal's descendants; they intercut this interview footage with rare archival footage of Wiesenthal. Academy Award-winning actress Nicole Kidman narrates. … More
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Critic Reviews for I Have Never Forgotten You: The Life And Legacy Of Simon Wiesenthal
An overdue testament to a one-man six-million man march in memory of all those who no longer had a voice.
More objective filmmakers might have delved a little deeper and produced something more real.
It's an exercise in hero worship that couldn't be more justified, even though Wiesenthal would have been modestly embarrassed by the honor.
The sheer power of Simon Wiesenthal's remarkable story is what propels this heartfelt documentary tribute.
In this obviously loving, respectful and generous documentary, Simon Wiesenthal is presented as a lone warrior on the trail of Nazi war criminals.
Persuasive and engaging, if one-sided. It could be argued there is only one side to argue.
The film successfully contextualizes [Wisenthal's] legacy for a new generation.
[Director] Trank is so busy fashioning [Wiesenthal] as a superhero that little light is shed on the man's relentlessness and his stubborn determination to keep his data center in Vienna even under siege from a shabby Austrian smear campaign.
The film dramatically shows how many of the criminals on Wiesenthal's lists were eventually sent to jail or died from heart attacks or suicide when they were at last located.
... the story of Wiesenthal is forced to compete with the sappiest of manipulative musical scores, a cheesy overemphasis on the Wiesenthal Center and its director, and a Hollywood mentality ...
A frustratingly routine hagiography of someone most of us think we know all about, this doc respectfully summarizes the life of Nazi tracker Simon Wiesenthal without ever going too deep.
Through archival footage and numerous interviews, including one with Wiesenthal's daughter, a richly layered portrait emerges of a man steeled not so much for revenge as for justice.
Effectively sketches Simon Wiesenthal's life, from his tenacity in surviving genocide, to his determination to find and punish ex-Nazis after World War II.
Seamlessly blends old footage, new interviews and well-written narration into a straightforward but gripping chronicle balanced so far on the edges of horror and heroism that you may, just briefly, have a hard time believing it after all.
I Have Never Forgotten You salutes this bureaucratic detective as the man who first insisted that war crimes are sins that won't die unless they are dragged into the open.
Celebrity narration (by Nicole Kidman) and deft filmmaking necessarily take a backseat here to the anger, grief, and incongruous good humor of the man himself.
At times one clamors for a slightly more creative, probing investigation of the consuming forces that drove Wiesenthal.
Audience Reviews for I Have Never Forgotten You: The Life And Legacy Of Simon Wiesenthal
[font=Century Gothic]"I Have Never Forgotten You" is an enthralling documentary about Simon Wiesenthal, war crimes investigator, that by relying on mostly interviews with him before his death in 2005, allows him to tell his story in his own words.(There are also interviews with friends and family plus Ben Kingsley(who portrayed Wiesenthal in a made for TV movie) and Frederick Forsyth(who based a character on him in the novel of "The Odessa File."). All of which is supplemented by archival footage.) [/font]
[font=Century Gothic]While "I Have Never Forgotten You" demystifies Wiesenthal, it also goes to great lengths to speak of his personal courage in seeking justice not vengeance for the victims of the Holocaust in the years after World War II when hunting war criminals was not a high priority for governments who were preoccupied with the Cold War.(Nearly all of Wiesenthal's extensive family had died in concentation camps. He had survived several until ending up at Mauthausen which was liberated by American troops in May 1945.) Not making his task any easier was being based in Austria, a country with a long history of anti-Semitism that just wanted to put the war behind it. But Wiesenthal wanted people to remember and for just cause, to make sure that this would never happen again.(He would later be involved in other genocide investigations.) Not until the 1960's did he gets his first break when he aided in the capture of Adolf Eichmann. The renown gained from that success allowed him free access to the media and power brokers which he used wisely. [/font]
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