Published on August 3, 2001
Film: Raw Images from the Optic Cross (1988)
In order to come to grips with the horrors of his family’s past after his father bid farewell to his parents during WWII, second-generation Holocaust surviour Nussbaum travels to Germany to visit his father’s hometown and retrace the steps of his grandparents, who met their final doom in Auschwitz. Filmed in a “slide” format, in which the colourful images blend into one another and “movement” is extremely rare, “Raw Images” carry more heart and emotion than any other piece of Holocaust work that I have seen. The images of death and discrimination are nothing short from horrific and disturbing, but all the while, showing the beauty of life itself.
Nussbaum pours all of himself into this piece of art, using the voice of his emotions to narrate the piece and express his feelings, while at the images of Christ, Stars of David, gas chambers, railroad tracks, concentration camps, and human abomination flash before the viewer’s eyes as a companion for Nussbaum’s vocals. It’s an absolute nightmare brought to life that is difficult to watch, but more difficult to look away from. This is not a film with a happy ending and is definitely not for everyone. Anyone who is easily offended might want to skip this film altogether. However, the sheer emotion of a personal experience such as this is highly recommended for any Holocaust education program, much more than “Schindler’s List” or “Night and Fog”.