I have never forgotten you: the life and legacy of Simon Wiesenthal

Narrated by Nicole Kidman. Directed by Richard Trank

Running Time: 102 minutes
Rated: Rated M

When you visit Berlin these days, you are struck by how many memorials there are to the horror of the Nazis. In recent years the German people had to wrestle with how much remembering is too much. But it wasn't always so.

For most of the 1950s and 1960s there was a concerted effort on behalf of many in German-speaking countries to forget their Nazi past, or at least to move on from it. Enter Simon Wiesenthal.

Through an almost accidental encounter with American GI's interrogating officials of the death camp of which he had been a prisoner, Wiesenthal's future took shape.

I have never forgotten you tells how Wiesenthal, a Holocaust survivor who helped track down over 1,100 war criminals following World War II and spent six decades fighting anti-Semitism and prejudice against all victims of the wall. Celebrated by many as the conscience of the Holocaust, this moving and important documentary looks at the sacrifices he made, the criticisms he faced and ultimately the legacy has he has left. It also reveals the international political and historical landscape against which he tirelessly campaigned.

Filmed on locations throughout Europe, Israel, and North and South America, I have never forgotten also records many interviewees, who are friends, family members, long-time associates in government leaders from around the world who have never discussed the legendary humanitarian on camera previously, as well as unseen archival footage. It comes together to tell this unforgettable story.

Prophets in the Old Testament sometimes predict the future. More so, however, they reflect on the past and then announce how God will act with justice to right the wrongs. Wiesenthal stands in the long line of such Jewish prophets. He was not interested in revenge, but just as strongly he did not believe that age, infirmity or time quenched the thirst for justice. People who ordered the murder of others on such a scale had to be held accountable for their free choices.

Narrated by Nicole Kidman, this film has some harrowing footage, but it's good to remember there is always another generation to educate about how seductive evil and power has been in the human and national psyche of the 20th century. And in the midst of it all there emerged a man who would not, and could not, forget the evil for fear that we might be seduced by it again.

At great personal cost to him, and especially to his wife and daughter, we can thank Wiesenthal for helping us accept that there are such things as war criminals, crimes against humanity and a memory which can only heal when justice is done.

Jump Street Films Out July 26

Fr Richard Leonard SJ is the director of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.

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