Filmmaker Gita Weinrauch Kaufman in person for Q&A!

Gita Weinrauch Kaufman is a writer and teacher in New York who fled Austria with her parents just as the entire family was about to be sent to a concentration camp. More than 50 years later, she returned to Vienna with her husband and co-director, Curt Kaufman, to search for her past and understand the country of her birth. She asks the question: Is present-day Austria truly different from the one she left?

Shadows From My Past includes interviews with survivors and witnesses, including Oscar-winning film producer Eric Pleskow and singer Theodore Bikel. Each perspective adds another layer to the many textures of remembrance, as does a series of letters —asking for help, trying to obtain visas, sending children out of harm’s way—presented on screen. No dramatic renderings are necessary; these missives truly speak for themselves.

As she wends her way through past and present Vienna, Gita speaks to the former US Ambassador to Austria, Ronald Lauder, the now infamous former UN Secretary General, Kurt Waldheim, and many less well-known but no-less-important voices as the film brings other issues to the table: Austrian resistance to the Nazis; collective guilt and blame; and the responsibility of today’s generation for the sins of their parents.

By careful combination of the personal and the political, Curt and Gita Kaufman have added more human voices to the tragedy of the Shoah to make sure it is not forgotten.