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Anne's Silent Struggle

Anne's Silent Struggle
1 x 52 minutes, 2008
Filmed in High Definition

"Anna's Silent Struggle" tells the moving story of Anna, today an 82 year old woman and how she managed to survive this death camp despite her handicap. For the hearing, Auschwitz is characterized as a place of horrible sounds; shouted commands, screaming, shooting and cries of torture. For the deaf, the terror was silent.

"Anna's Silent Struggle" is the first film documenting the dramatic story of a forgotten group that was able to survive, despite their tremendous handicap. The film was shot on locations in Holland, Belgium and Poland.

Her ability to read lips was a vital tool during her struggle for survival. She survived not only because of tremendous luck but also because she had a highly developed intuition, a kind of "sixth sense". The personal strength she had developed in order to manage as a deaf person in a hearing world helped her manage in an environment that even most non-handicapped inmates could not cope with.

In the film, young deaf filmmaker Tom is in search of getting an answer on the question how deaf people were able to survive the horrors of the Nazi persecution. He also 'speaks' to deaf child survivors in Holland. The film will also be an opportunity to tell these untold stories.

Handicapped Jews had no chance to survive the Nazi horrors. The survival of Anna Vos - van Dam, an 18 year old Belgian-Dutch deaf girl in Auschwitz is a unique story. Anna was born in 1926 in Antwerp of originally Dutch parents and deported from the Belgium nazi transit camp (kazerne) in Mechelen to Auschwitz.

Tom, a 26 year old and deaf Dutch non-Jew, has chosen an exceptional profession – filmmaking. He wants to document and reveal the story of deaf people through film and sound. He sets out to uncover the story of deaf people during World War II. He wants to know how they managed to survive with their handicap under such harsh circumstances. He chances upon the story of Anna Vos. Anna is one of the very few deaf persons who survived the Nazi death camps. Tom wants to know how she survived despite the seemingly insurmountable burden of her handicap. He believes that Anna’s story will inspire other deaf people.

Soon after Adolf Hitler's rise to power, he began to implement his obsession of creating the so-called "pure Aryan race". This soon led to a policy of mass sterilization for Germans and others with various handicaps and later to euthanasia programs. And while much has been written about this aspect of Nazism, very little is known about the fate of deaf people during the Holocaust.

Created & written by Willy Lindwer and Tom Linszen
A 2008 production of AVA Productions, The Netherlands

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Last update: 03-11-2013
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