Elliot Berlin and Joe Fab directed this moving and at times heartbreakingly brave documentary which covers how a group ofTennesseeschool children collected six million paper clips as part of a project…one for each Jew that died in the holocaust. Bearing in mind that most of these children are brought up on devoutly Christian families and in neighbourhoods where there are few “ethnic minorities”, this was clearly an eye opening experience for many of them and their journey of discovers makes this one of those films that renews your faith in humanity.
The film is extremely well constructed and accessible enough to be seen by children, whilst containing enough detail to also be absorbing to adults. But it isn’t the factual side where the movie really excels, that is in the emotions evoked as you watch it. The children come fact to face with the stark reality of life and death in the concentration camps when the meet with some of the survivors, victims who tale their stories without bias, to keep the memory alive and counter those ridiculous people, again many from the American mid west, who try to insist that the holocaust never actually happened. This is a powerful reminder that it did and chillingly that it could happen again. The message really gets across to these kids as they hear harrowing details of the brutalities inflicted on prisoners of war involved in the Nazi’s “final solution” and what is fascinating is to see that often the teachers and vice principals learned as much as did the students.
The story is told with great grace, dignity and a lot of humour as the relatively small town mindsets of the children are confronted, challenged and eventually changed, their view of the world widened and this film does exactly that to the viewer, transmitting the same experience and understanding in an incredibly engaging piece that many have suggested should take it’s place on every school’s curriculum. Highly recommended and well worth more than one viewing.