'Cheating Hitler' -- Holocaust survivors look for answers many decades later

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Image: Saloon Media, Steve Gamestar and Rebecca Snow. Used with permission.

Nearly 75 years after World War Two ended, people around the world are commemorating Holocaust Memorial Day this month. In a time of rising anti-Semitism around the world, the message "we must never forget" is just as important today as it will be tomorrow.

Children have always been central to the story of the Holocaust. One of the most recognized victims, Anne Frank, was a child. And yet, for decades, the testimony of most child survivors was overlooked. Some felt overshadowed by the experiences of their elders, too traumatized to share their memories, or felt guilt for surviving and living long lives.

The film Cheating Hitler is a modern-day investigation into lingering mysteries from the Holocaust. Rose, Maxwell and Helen were all children, 10 years old and younger, when the Second World War began. They endured the terror of forced labour, killing squads and concentration camps. After the war, they discovered their families had been decimated, that their homes were reduced to rubble and their possessions lost or stolen. Robbed of their childhood, they were old before they were young.

These three survivors are looking for answers to deeply personal questions they've carried their entire lives. With family members, they travel to Poland, Ukraine and Lithuania exploring some of the hidden and rarely visited sites where the Holocaust occurred. They consult with historians, genealogists and forensic experts and uncover new life-changing information.

Rose, Maxwell and Helen are now in their final years. In this film they are revealing some of their secrets on camera for the first time. Their testimony provides a powerful warning from history and a last chance to solve lingering mysteries.

Face2Face host David Peck talks to Rebecca Snow and Steve Gamestar about their new film Cheating Hitler: Surviving The Holocaust, survivor's guilt, meaningful history, the power of memory and pivotal moments in personal stories.

You can watch the film here.

About the guests:

Rebecca Snow is an award winning director, writer and producer specializing in history and social issue documentaries. Rebecca won the 2018 Canadian Screen Award for Best Direction in a Documentary Program for Real Vikings: Viking Women. Her early career was spent in the UK working on BBC's The Battle for North America, Simon Schama's Power of Art and the dramatized series Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire. Her writing/directing broadcast credits include CBC's Nature of Things, NBC's Who Do You Think You Are?  And for History Channel: Museum Secrets, Perfect Storms, Battle Castle and Mummies Alive. She also co-produced Hunting Nazi Treasure.

Steve Gamester is a founding partner of Saloon Media. He has worked as a development executive, broadcaster, executive producer, producer and series show runner for clients in Canada, the United States, the U.K. and Germany. He is currently producing two feature-length documentaries, the first about the impact of 9/11 on American society, and the second about children survivors of the Holocaust.  In 2016-2017 he developed and produced Hunting Nazi Treasure (8 x 60), a Canada-U.K. co-production for History Canada, Channel 4 UK and AHC in the US. The series travelled to 13 countries on four continents to investigate the Nazi looting of cultural objects during the Second World War. In 2016 he developed and produced the 1 x 60 special Auction House for History Canada.

Gamester's productions have been nominated for over twenty Canadian Screen Awards. From 2005 to 2009, Steve was a production executive of original programming at Canwest and Alliance Atlantis and oversaw more than 300 hours of programming for History, National Geographic, Showcase, and Global Television.

Image: Saloon Media, Steve Gamestar and Rebecca Snow. Used with permission.

F2F Music and Image: David Peck and Face2Face. 

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