Docs For Education

November 21, 2011

Dear Friend,

This time we are recommending the film "Murder of a Hatmaker." Made by famous French director Catherine Bernstein, this documentary describes the Holocaust during World War II in France. Catherine turned a personal story into a history lesson.


Through the story of her great aunt Fanny Berger, a hatmaker, the director unfolds the history of Aryanization in Vichy France. Between her date of birth on the 2nd of July 1901, and her deportation to Auschwitz on the 18th of July 1943, Odette Bernstein's life left few traces, except some found in the administrative archives. People are unfamiliar with the German plan of getting the French authorities & police to pursue the Jews, rob them, and then to pack them off to Auschwitz. There were no mass killings or gas chambers on French soil, and it was the inborn anti-Semitism or indifference of the French that made the persecution possible.

We recommend this film for special screenings for the International Holocaust Memorial day 27th January & HaShoah Day 18th April

"With the precision of a forensic scientist, Catherine Bernstein researches the life and the death of her great aunt Fanny Berger, a successful fashion designer in Paris who was ultimately deported to Auschwitz. This highly personal documentary sheds light on Vichy France's insidious collaboration with the Nazis." — NY Jewish Film Festival

My personal reaction to this film and tale is that during the German occupation there were no Emil Zolas and no "J'Accuse" as during the Dreyfus affair at the time of Fanny's birth.

For more information please go to


Nahum Laufer,

Docs For Education

Previous newsletter: October 3, 2011 - Badal

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