"I Have Never Forgotten You" examines Simon Wiesenthal's life
"I Have Never Forgotten You" opens with questions that Simon Wiesenthal was asked countless times in his lifetime: Why search for Nazi war...
Special to The Seattle Times
"I Have Never Forgotten You: The Life and Legacy of Simon Wiesenthal," a documentary narrated by Nicole Kidman and directed by Richard Trank.
105 minutes. Not rated; for mature audiences (contains graphic, disturbing images from the Holocaust). In English and German with English subtitles.
"I Have Never Forgotten You" opens with questions that Simon Wiesenthal was asked countless times in his lifetime: Why search for Nazi war criminals? Why not let the architects of the Holocaust fade into oblivion and avoid the heavy burden of being the world's foremost Nazi hunter?
Wiesenthal's answer never varied: If not me, then who?
From his office in Vienna — for decades the only office of its kind — Wiesenthal (1908-2005) tracked and located more than 1,100 Nazis who went into hiding after World War II. With no statute of limitations on war crimes, "the murderers among us" (also the title of Wiesenthal's memoirs) either committed suicide or suffered fatal heart attacks upon being discovered, or were swiftly brought to justice. As a survivor of Nazi death camps, Wiesenthal never let the world forget the horrors he witnessed firsthand.
As we gain a deeper understanding of what motivated Wiesenthal through decades of determined effort, anti-Semitic threats and occasional scandal surrounding his activities, we also realize that Wiesenthal's life was a remarkable adventure, worthy of a Graham Greene novel yet applied to the grimmest of tragedies with good-natured tenacity.
Directed by Richard Trank, elegantly narrated by Nicole Kidman and financed by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, this thoroughly researched documentary is slightly compromised by manipulative music and a regrettable tendency to edit horrific images of the Holocaust as shock-value threads in a biographical tapestry.
None of this stops "I Have Never Forgotten You" from being essential viewing. Rich in historical context, archival interviews with Wiesenthal and moving recollections from Wiesenthal's family, friends and colleagues — it's an exercise in hero worship that couldn't be more justified, even though Wiesenthal would have been modestly embarrassed by the honor.
Jeff Shannon: email@example.com
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