Treblinka's Last Witness: A Film Review

By Sydne Kilberg on October 30, 2015

“Some instinct told me not to believe it. I was in hell.”

Last Sunday, October 25th at the SLC (Student Life Cinema), a tale of human resilience, compassion, and adaptability unfolded in front of me when watching “Treblinka’s Last Witness”. The survival story as narrated by the last man alive today who spent twelve years of his life witnessing first-hand the horrors of the Holocaust, accompanied by various scholars, serves to appeal to all levels of rhetoric indeed.

The film; one hour and forty minutes in length, successfully captures 90-year-old Samuel Willenberg’s autobiography entailing a wild journey of survival. Beginning with his back-story having Jewish blood-ties entangled with Catholic beliefs in the country of Poland, the mixing pot would soon be greatly reduced with the brutal overtake of Hitler and his vast armies.

Willenberg’s raw recollections of his relocation from his hometown, to Jewish ghettos, to the death camp of Treblinka progressively reveals the mass genocide that took place. The film’s inclusion of shocking photography, motion pictures taken by families watching the killings, depicts the entire system of brainwashing both educationally, and emotionally.

When you want to die because there is no longer a reason to live, Willenberg is proof that the amount of strength within the human species is truly incredible despite being conscious of a thorough process of dehumanization with intent to kill, by your own kind.

In his fight for revenge, he ultimately learned that the best revenge is to “have a beautiful, loving family, and a good life.” So if you are interested in all things Holocaust, don’t mind reading subtitles here and there, and shedding a few tears, “Treblinka’s Last Witness” is a beautiful film that fully illustrates how life, despite its grand hurdles, comes full circle.

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