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April 11, 2013 5:43 pm

New Film Chronicles Jews Who Survived Nazis for 511 Days Underground (VIDEO)

avatar by Zach Pontz

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Screen shot from film of former cave inhabitants. Photo: Magnolia Pictures.

A new film that chronicles the longest continuous underground survival in recorded human history has hit U.S. theaters. The film, No Place on Earth, tells the story of several Jewish families who lived in an underground cave starting in 1942 to avoid detection by the Nazis. They lived in the cave, located in Ukraine, for 511 days, only leaving at night to hunt for food.

The cave was discovered by caving enthusiast Chris Nicola, an American, who then endeavored to track down its former occupants. Through a mixture of first-person accounts and re-enactments director Janet Tobias put together a film that one film critic has called “a substantial contribution to Holocaust cinema.”

Watch the trailer for No Place on Earth below:

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  • Yoel Nitzarim

    I saw this documentary last night on April 10, 2013, at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center after teaching two classes focusing on the survivor’s testimony of Gerda Weissmann-Klein at College of Lake County. What an incredible story! What an intense storyline! What courageous people! What resourceful individuals! As I am in the midst of teaching my semesterly unit on the Holocaust, this story just heightens my awe for the mystery that was the Shoah. In the midst of the utter sadness, the thirty-eight Jewish people who descended into one of the vastest caverns in Ukraine, ascended a year and a half later victors of their destiny. My most profound respect for their efforts to maintain their dignity as Jews and human beings. Their respect for human dignity was just magnanimous. At one point they could have killed a Ukraine peasant who knew their location and could have informed the SS; on another occasion they could have killed a horse for food and did not out of respect for its beauty and innocence. Jewish humor also played a role in keeping the atmosphere “convivial.” I salute these survivors’ emunah and decisions to take the side of HOPE!

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