I Have Never Forgotten You: The Life And Legacy Of Simon Wiesenthal (2007)



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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.
PG-13 (for disturbing violent images and descriptions of the Holocaust)
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Nicole Kidman
as Narrator
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Critic Reviews for I Have Never Forgotten You: The Life And Legacy Of Simon Wiesenthal

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (14)

More objective filmmakers might have delved a little deeper and produced something more real.

Full Review… | October 19, 2007
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

It's an exercise in hero worship that couldn't be more justified, even though Wiesenthal would have been modestly embarrassed by the honor.

Full Review… | August 10, 2007
Seattle Times
Top Critic

Persuasive and engaging, if one-sided. It could be argued there is only one side to argue.

July 19, 2007
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

The film successfully contextualizes [Wisenthal's] legacy for a new generation.

Full Review… | July 5, 2007
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

[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.

July 5, 2007
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | June 29, 2007
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for I Have Never Forgotten You: The Life And Legacy Of Simon Wiesenthal

This is incredibly moving painting the story of a man who almost single handedly helped insure justice was carried out amongst many of the Nazi perpetrators. It shows his undying faith and fortitude against odds and critics until the day he died at 96.

Peter Weiss
Peter Weiss

I knew the basics of Simon's life and have always been interesed in him. This documentary is more of a biography of his life combined with his work as a nazi hunter. It is extremely moving and certainly shocking to witness what he and other survivors went through during the war. Mr. Wiesenthal who refused to be looked at as a victim or a hero but instead simply as a survivor. I am grateful for his life and work.


[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][/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]

Walter M.
Walter M.

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