A tithe of children

Hundreds of thousands of Jewish children were killed during the Nazi regime in Europe during World War II. Only about one-tenth of the approximately 1.5 million Jewish children living there before the war survived—a mere tithe. Academy Award winner Aviva Slesin, the producer and director of Secret Lives: Hidden Children & their Rescuers During WW II, was one of those survivors.

Slesin's recently released 72-minute documentary, already an "Inspirational Film" award winner (see www.secretlives.org), tells several of these children's stories, with exquisite restraint, via a simple chronological format. But the emotion and the ironies remain—in the eyes and voices of the hidden children and the non-Jews who, at the risk of their own and their families' lives, offered refuge out of what most of they say was "simply common decency." A decency not so common and not so simple against the backdrop of their nightmare context. The depth and intimacy of these stories are profoundly underscored by John Zorn's soundtrack played by The Masada String Trio. See if you can tell where his music ends and your feelings begin.

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