Documentary, 30 minutes – 2021

How was Jewish life able to re-emerge in Frankfurt after 1945 after the Shoah? With the trauma of the concentration and extermination camps? Of the Frankfurt Jews who were unable to flee the Nazi terror in time, only a few survived the Shoah.

In 1945, thousands of Holocaust survivors, mainly Eastern European Jews, were stranded in Frankfurt am Main. Uprooted people, displaced persons who had lost everything. In DP camps under Allied protection, they waited for their departure to Palestine or America. But many stayed.

“This feeling of being alone in this world and continuing to live and raise a family was something you couldn’t imagine,” says Ruza Orlean, who came to the Frankfurt-Zeilsheim DP camp as a seventeen-year-old in 1946. With around 3,600 residents, it was the largest in the American occupation zone.

“So I definitely don’t understand how Jewish life could come back here in Germany after the war,” says Joelle Ziper, now seventeen. She attends the Jewish School in Frankfurt am Main.

The film seeks answers and paints a sensitive portrait of Jewish life in the Main metropolis from the perspective of several generations. It is still shaped by the Shoah, says Dieter Graumann, a former member of the board of the Jewish Community of Frankfurt am Main. Today, with over 7,000 members, this community is once again one of the largest in Germany. Confronted again and again with anti-Semitism, many Jews are once again asking themselves whether they really chose the right country. To this day, Jews struggle for more empathy for their fate and wish they could truly call Germany their home.

A film by Ilana Goldschmidt and Adrian Oeser
Broadcast: hr-fernsehen, “Wir leben weiter”, 02/21/2021, 7:00 p.m.