‘Inheritance’: Share Your Thoughts With Helen and Monika

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Helen Jonas and Monika Hertwig Many viewers have written in after seeing Inheritance asking how they can get in touch with Helen or Monika to express their encouragement and support.

If you would like to send a note to Helen Jonas or to Monika Hertwig, please write your letter in the comments below and we will make sure that they receive it. If you would prefer to send a private message, please send an email to us at feedback [at] pov.org with “Letter for Helen” or “Letter for Monika” in the subject line.

And if you haven’t had a chance to see the film or would like to share it with your friends, check it out online: the film will be available in its entirety until January 4, 2009 on the POV website.

Catherine Jhee
Catherine Jhee
Catherine Jhee was formerly a producer with POV Interactive.
  • Andre

    FOREIGNID: 18111
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Dear Mr. Moll.
    As a German, second generation WW2-child I firstly want to congratulate and approach you with great appreciation: “Inheritance” is a documentary that was overdue, while at the same time being a brilliant reference to the past of millions.
    Yet, I don’t understand why such an important message – “due to rights restrictions” – mustn’t be transported across the borders of the US: a message that should be heard in Europe. The parents of my generation were left with a huge gap in history – while we were coated in guilt after some turning point in the eighties. Statistics, pictures, pointing fingers – it is sad to say, that many Germans now in their twenties and thirties are overfed with disgrace. “Inheritance” brings life to the numbers, the marks, the school reports. It makes it touchable.
    I am writing to ask you to intermit the foreclosure. People in Europe – and especially in Germany – need to see your movie. Each and one of us has to recover a heritage of dimensions that has to be newly discovered.
    Sincerely yours
    Andre

  • Dick

    FOREIGNID: 18112
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    WHAT A GREAT DOCUMENTARY.I WAS AT DACHAU AND SPOKE TO INMATES. WHAT A DIFFERENT SIDE MONICA GAVE ME

  • Diane Parrino

    FOREIGNID: 18113
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I have seen many documentaries and films about the holocaust but this one was the most important film I think I’ve ever seen. It’s difficult for me to find the words but I would like to praise Helen for her unbelieveable strength, dignity, grace, and beauty. I will never forget this film and the whole world should see it. Monika is also very brave to stare down the truth and look it in the eye. She is so innocent of the load of shame she is carrying for her parent’s atrocities. Thank you Helen and Monika and Mr. Moll.

  • Z. Vesoulis

    FOREIGNID: 18114
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    This was an important documentary film to bring to light the continued suffering that persists so many years after the war. Even innocent children on both sides cannot sublimate memories of those tragic events that haunt them so many years later. I understand that Helen still reels with the pain of those events and wants people to never forget. I thought it unfair that she used Monika as her vehicle to strike out at the brutal Nazi regime. Despite being the daughter of Amon Goethe, her role in the atrocities executed by her father and the complicity of her mother is unfairly attributed. Her current shame and guilt is readily surmised, yet undeserved.

  • D. Stephens

    FOREIGNID: 18115
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I’m afraid I disagree with Z. Vesoulis’ conclusion (Dec. 12, 11:19PM) I think that one of the best moments in “Inheritance” was the painful, and yet honest, exchange between Helen and Monika at the villa when Monika was trying to express what was going on in her mind and her emotions as she was learning the truth–which was completely different from what she had been told all her life–, and yet how Helen (as her daughter said elsewhere “for [Helen's] own preservation”) couldn’t tolerate even hearing those lies voiced anymore, and argued that repeating them could allow them to happen again. It was an exchange at the crux of how viewpoints, emotions, and perceptions can and do clash, even when intentions [their agreeing to meet and talk] are exemplary by both parties. What an important and excellent documentary.

  • Bob Gray

    FOREIGNID: 18116
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    My German wife and I, both born in 1941, grew up learning about the Holocaust a little at a time. As Mr. Moll put it, it was largely statistics to me, even after visiting the Holocaust Museum. Melding Helen’s and Monika’s perspectives “live” for us has helped my wife and I understand the far-reaching implications of the Holocaust and all atrocities – large and small.

  • Susan Jones

    FOREIGNID: 18117
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    To the filmmakers and the two women: I was left speechless and feeling such strong emotion for both. I couldn’t speak for awhile. I felt the agony in both women and understand the courage it took for both to meet. Shindler’s List left me the same way. This POV documentary was earth-shattering, even if you knew the whole story….which I didn’t. I can’t imagine a more incredible way to tell a very large story of just a small part of the Holocaust. Thank you for the film. It should and I’m sure will be used to show and possibly shock people all over the world about the true nature of a true Nazi
    commander, and the brutal and completely inhumane way absolute power and evil can be passed down through generations to come. What a documentary!! May we all feel shocked and saddened plus remember “this should never, ever happen again to anyone or any people in the world”. Monika was very brave to have undertaken this journey. As for Aman’s victims who are still living….one must know these atrocities are ongoing for generations and generations. How very sad and sickening. Thank you POV…as usual, you’ve outdone yourself. It was gut-wrechingly vivid and well-told.

  • Cecilia Eppinger

    FOREIGNID: 18118
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Monika is raising her grandson to be compassionate and understanding of others.
    What a powerful and lasting inheritance she will leave to him. She is a blessing
    that overshadows Amon’s curse.
    Helen’s decision to meet with Monika, to step back into the most painful time of her life….that took overwhelming courage.

  • Joe

    FOREIGNID: 18119
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    This was a great documentary…One of those you find with a lucky channel surf. I found this to be both wonderful and painful – thought provoking look – at mankind – from past to present. I can never imagine the pain Helen must feel…and so many survivors and relatives who know the holocaust from life memory – not a text book. I felt sorry for Monika…she was left to travel on her own to face a difficult moment and you could see her pain. I also thought Helen was a little rough toward her…Of course there is reason to keep a distance but not to be unpleasant to her….Monika is as innocent as Helen if you really consider it. God Bless them for sharing with the world.
    I am looking forward to the upcoming movie Valkyrie ..There are so many un-appreciated heroes from Germany who sacrificed and risked their lives to stop Hitler and shelter the persecuted and even helped alied soldiers from time to time. A lesson to all on this planet…There is always good among evil!

  • ava

    FOREIGNID: 18120
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Monika can’t be held responsible for her father’s actions considering she was so young at the time when the holocaust was happening. Her legacy to her grandson by teaching him that no one is different because of what they believe is so powerful and it’s the best she can do.

  • lenny roos

    FOREIGNID: 18121
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I hope Monica and Helen see this. My parents escaped nazi germanyin 1936.I was born in Chicago Ill in 1946.Both my parents were Jewish.They are no longer alive.I fought and recieved the Purple Heart in Viet Nam.I grew up in the atmosphere of the Holocaust. Some of my relatives were killed in the Holocaust. But I grew up in the USA. I experienced many wonderful things growing up.But I had so many questions about my Jewishness and Nazi Germany. I have read and studied and shared much with others about this subject and continue to do so.I am grateful to PBS and Monika and Helenfor this wonderful wonderful documentary that clearly reached my heart.There is also much praise due Mr Moll for his excellent work.Truly a work of art!The main reason I wrote this comment was to let everyone know that there can be a wonderful conclusion to the pain and suffering that the we have experienced from war and the Holocaust. We have a mission to practice Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism attain enlightenment and help others do the same.We can change poison to elixir through the teaching of Nichiren Shoshu Head Temple located at the foot of Mt Fuji with branch Temples all over the world.Through learning the correct Faith of this Nichiren Shoshu and putting into practice we can experience the Realm of Buddha and remove our suffering and purify our lives dramatically so we can expiate bad karma and attain true peace and happiness for ourselves and others.Our environment reflects ourselves.Change ourself and everything else will change.The inability to know how to do this causes pain . Nichiren Shoshu Teaches us how to do this.I urge you to look into this deeply it truly is the answer to all suffering in this world.Chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo!

  • Tom Williams

    FOREIGNID: 18122
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    the docimentary of helena and monika really touched me ,esp for monika,since she gets judged for her fathers actions,thats so sad,she was too little to even know anything and what she did know wasnt the truth,I feel for her to have to live with all that terrible stuff her father did,its so sad,I pray for helen and monika and I think monika is a special person to try and make this right when she had nothing to do with any of it

  • Tiana Lee

    FOREIGNID: 18123
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Dear Monika,
    I saw “Inheratance just the other night quit by accident. I was riveted and so sadly moved by the burdan you have shouldered for most of your life. I tried to imagine what it would have been like for me to have had parents such as yours and I could not do it. It was beyond my comprehension!
    I want to convey to you how incredibly brave you were and are to have opened yourself up to meeting with Helen. I sicerely hope that by doing so you have begun a journey of healing for yourself and your family. You are a hero in my eyes and I wish you a healthy and joyous heart.
    I also have a question. Are you doing any work that might also be a factor in your healig process as well as educating others such as speaking engagements or anything else?
    Thank you for your courage and light, Tiana Lee

  • Michael Sloane

    FOREIGNID: 18124
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I too was very moved by the documentary. I feel that Helen did not treat Monika unfarily with her reaction to Monika’s description of what the public was told regarding the killing of the Jews. Tens of millions of “innocent” people simply sat back and did nothing as their neighbors were herde up and taken away. I believe that Helen could not bear to hear the explanation that was being offered to the European people as an explanation to the “Jewish Problem”. After the liberation of the extermination camps, civilians were bought in to see first hand what had taken place on their land. Thousand of photgraphs were taken for there to be a permanent record of the slaughter.
    It is a very difficult thing for Monika to confront her countries and her father’s past and I commend her for her education of young people but I feel that her desire is at least partially based upon a desire to cleanse, while Helen is compelled to share a past that she would much rather erase from her memory to make people remember what happened during the Holocaust.
    Helen also shared the pain of her Husband’s suicide some 35 years after liberation. Survivors are never free and I feel for the absolute pain that they carry for their entire lives and the lives of their children and people in their lives with whom they share their experience.

  • Case Clements

    FOREIGNID: 18125
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Thank you to Helen and Monika (and the filmmaker) for finding the courage to make this documentary, and for providing a personal, down to earth perspective available to all of us… on something that, for those who were not there, can seem too strange to have been true.
    I grew up in England in the (by then) pale shadow of the war; hearing stories of my parents’ and grandparents’ wartime experiences; seeing movies glorifying the good fight, and villifying the enemy… It all seemed so much in the past, and more like a drama than something real; more like something about monsters of the imagination than about real people. Since then, as an adult, I’ve seen several films and documentaries, including yours, that examine the very real human dimensions of war. I take my hat off to those of you who not only have taken the initiative to show us how real your experiences were, and how the monsters were not just a figment of the imagination; that they were once children, went to school, were intelligent and educated people, had wives and families… revealing an otherwise hidden dimension of human potential; the kind of potential that we would do well to remember is not just an abstract idea… it walks amongst us… it could just as well be in our own family as “out there.”

  • henry kronowetter

    FOREIGNID: 18126
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Schindler’s List opened our eyes.Inheritance opened our heart.

  • crystal

    FOREIGNID: 18127
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Hello
    I would like to thank Monica and Helen and the filmaker for making this film. It must have taken both Monica and Helen alot of strength to meet each other. I just want Monica to know it isn’t her fault what her father did. It must be a big burden on her. she is doing well teaching her grandson the proper way of thinking:) I’m proud. I want helen to know that I’m very proud of her as well facing her fears and going back to that house although I’m sure it has given her some bad dreams and brought back some bad memories it will help her heal. this film really touched me I’m neither German or Jewish but I thank you this is a good film for any one to watch although I must admit it did make me cry. crystal 27years old.

  • patty

    FOREIGNID: 18128
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    You may use HTML tags for style and links.
    The film is a great tribute to the human spirit. Both women have suffered much. I wish them both happiness forever. I have to ask, tho, when does this end? Jews/Palestines; Iraq suffering because of the US; Undocumented workers in the US treated like criminals. and on and on.
    I ask again: When does it end? Very sad indeed.

  • Martha

    FOREIGNID: 18129
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I was looking forward to seeing this important film and was stopped in my tracks by a pop up that said that I cannot view it in my region – which is Israel. What is the reason for that?
    So that means I will never see it? I don’t own a TV, so I can only view it on my computer – but some stupid pop up won’t allow even that?
    Martha: Unfortunately, due to rights issues, P.O.V. is only streaming Inheritance in the U.S. You can purchase the film at the distributor’s website.
    Ruiyan Xu, Web Producer, P.O.V.

  • Diana

    FOREIGNID: 18130
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    A fine film, one that purports to be about seeking something as cliched as closure (closure for the daughter of a Nazi who delighted in mass murder?) but ends up being something else entirely.
    The moment that struck me most was almost missed: Monika’s mother, like Helen’s husband, committed suicide 35 years after the war. This after 40 years of abject denial of her own complicity.
    Amon Goeth was a monster. His daughter blameless and cursed with looking like him. But his wife with her egg yolk facials, reclining on the round bed or out in the yard, within distance of shootings and torture at a forced labor camp? The most powerful moments here are not about the sins of the fathers but what we inherit from our mothers, who teach us about the world.
    Helen’s composure, followed by bursts of anger and the terrible pain of the loss of her family, boyfriend, and eventually husband were unforgettably moving. Thank you for bringing these brave women (including Vivian) together and placing their devastating personal narratives in historical context. I wish them some peace of mind.

  • Daniel

    FOREIGNID: 18131
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Thank all of you for sharing the pain in your lives to try and help others. There are all kinds of versions on hell on earth, but you give us hope that good exists in miraculous ways as well.
    Will you tell me please is Mrs. Jonas the basis of Steven Spielberg’s character Helena Hirsch in “Schindler’s List,” or is it her fellow prisoner Helen who also worked at the villa?

  • PAUL MIER

    FOREIGNID: 18132
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    My mother’s family are descended from Spanish Jews who were forced to convert to Catholicism. When I asked them why they never returned back to Judaism they would say, “just look at what happens to Jews.” I felt their fear but I didn’t agree. I am the first in my family to go back. But I sometimes wonder what fate will be now that I am Jewish.

  • S. Levy

    FOREIGNID: 18133
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    A poweful documentary.
    The Nazi experience filters down through the generations who grew up without grandparents, uncle, aunts, cousins, etc.
    They were always different than their peers, even though they were born and brought up in the U.S., Canada, Israel….
    There is always a shadow of the extended family that was not able to share their lives.

  • Yvette Robinson

    FOREIGNID: 18134
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I watched the program last night, and I felt for Monika the most because her father was a cruel person, as for Helena I feel for you as well. GOD be with the Both of you. I am a African American I’m 47 years old , I’ve seen all kind of cruelty, But one Day THE JUDGE OF ALL JUDGES WILL APPEAR so get you heart and walk right AMEN

  • Towe Royal

    FOREIGNID: 18135
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Thank you Helena and Monica for being so brave to share your stories with us. I’m a Swedish woman of 40 who has had an interest in the holocaust ever since I found out one of my teachers in 7th grade ( she was from Norway) was held in a work camp by the Nazis and lost both her parents, also teachers, just because they didn’t want to teach what the Nazis told them to.
    I think it is important to remember that the right to freedom of religion and political views are important to all of us and if we close our eyes to others persecution and imprisonment we are all at risk.
    Sharing the story and educating those of us who didn’t experience it is of VITAL importance as we are doomed to repeat it again and again, and still are seeing. The persecution of people happened in Bosnia and are still happening today in many parts of the world.
    Thank you.

  • Howard Jonas, D. O.

    FOREIGNID: 18136
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    A very moving and important documentary that was beneficial for all parties concerned, including the audience. I’m interested to know if Helen’s husband Joseph and his father Solomon were relatives of mine. My father David immigrated to the States around 1918. He came from Villa Pola- a hamlet near Sanok, Poland. His father was named Chaim. If by any chance Helen reads this I would be much appreciative if she has any info to pass on to me and my extended family. Sincerely, Dr. Howard Jonas

  • todd

    FOREIGNID: 18137
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    dearest monika. ive often wondered were the wish good bye and the wave that i always use comes from . dear lady i know from the film you say you have no comment for others that survived as a generation or two , after the unspeakable acts of are familys . your movments show how sad and shamed we are left . god bless and thank you for your strong courage . at speaking out to what many feel .

  • http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/zloczew/zloczew.html Felicia P. Zieff

    FOREIGNID: 18138
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    My parents are both Jewish Holocaust survivors. I grew up with much hatred towards the German people for murdering my parents families. For many years, I felt that the descendants of Germans should be made accountable for 10 generations for what they did to the Jewish people. This movie has opened my eyes to the pain and suffering of the children of Nazis. I no longer feel that the descendants of Germans of that time are accountable for their parents crimes. They are innocent and my outlook has changed drastically. Thank you for making this important and truthful film.
    Felicia P. Zieff
    President, Association of Descendants of the Shoah – Illinois, Inc.
    Skokie, IL, USA

  • Debanjan Nag

    FOREIGNID: 18139
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I watched the documentary yesterday and missed the part where Helen, in response to something Monika said, was saying that it was wrong, wrong notion, wrong conception around why the nazis were perpetrating the brutalities or something around that. Can anyone please help me understand what Helen was saying? Also please help me understand why the nazis had so much hatred towards the jews briefly?

  • Robert Portanova

    FOREIGNID: 18140
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I cannot express how emotional I felt while watching the documentary “Inheritance” on Wednesday night. I could not stop shedding tears for Helen. I wish I could hold her and cry along with her. I would love to talk with her. I am not Jewish but I follow Holocaust documentaries very closely. We cannot show them enough – so many people do not know the full story or they wish to not believe it. I would love to talk with Helen about how I can improve my views toward latino immigration into the US. I have not been very sensitive and am trying to be more understanding. Is there a way I can communicate with her ?

  • Mary

    FOREIGNID: 18141
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Dear Helen and Monika:
    I cannot adequately express how grateful I am for your willingness to share your story with us. This film and a visit to Yad Vashem are the two most powerful experiences I’ve had in trying to understand the most important issue of our era. Your honesty and courage touched me more deeply than I can say.
    I despair when I realize that racial l and genocidal hatred and ignorance is alive and well, and continues unabated. But I find courage in the witness that you bear by example, that what is best in the human heart also survives. I take this courage with me in how I relate to those around me who before I might have wanted to see as “the other.” Most of all, I take this courage you have inspired in order to pass it along to my daughter, so that she may see in herself and others the beauty that both of you so stunningly reflect.
    Thank you is not enough.

  • Peter

    FOREIGNID: 18142
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    The best thing about this encounter is that it reinforces the compelling truth that neither victims nor perpetrators, or their children for that matter, can put the Holocaust behind them. As they and their descendants have to distance themselves from illusion and repression through grappling with the trauma they share, the rest of mankind must move ever closer to a sense of responsibility for a suffering beyond its presumed orbit.. Ask not for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.

  • Myla

    FOREIGNID: 18143
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I cannot stop thinking about this film! The strength that it took for Helen to remain so kind and dignified is beyond words meanwhile so honestly and poignantly telling her horrific story with such great detail. Her strength throughout life, the strength of her husband and her family is immeasurable.
    Monika’s bravery to face what her parents did and find the truth in the lies that she was told and always made to believe is amazing. What a huge step to make!
    This movie will forever change me. God Bless all those who suffered then and continue to suffer to this day from such atrocities!

  • Michael Ooten

    FOREIGNID: 18144
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I thought that Helen and Monica did a great job of showing their true emotions.
    It must have been extremely difficult for you both to face each other and speak from your hearts on camera, but I feel that this was a most noble act of uncommon courage. The message of the Holocaust must get out. After reading ‘The Holocaust’ by Martin Gilbert my mind and soul was never so struck with the horror of that time. It was the hardest book that I have ever read and would highly recommend to all interested in this subject.

  • Sandi

    FOREIGNID: 18145
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Thank you PBS for making this film available online.
    Monika, The mere fact of your conscience, integrity, and compassion for humanity is diametrically opposite to that of Amon. You are uniquely you and I applaud you for all that you are and for all that you have done (and continue to do).
    Helen, You have triumphed over tragedy. You have shared the truth. You have relived traumatic experiences for the sake of others. You are a true hero in all sense of the word.
    James, It must have been incredibly interesting, challenging, inspiring and meaningful for you to make this documentary. I think it is remarkable how it all came to be by a simple phone call to Monika for an altogether different purpose. Your photographers also deserve kudos for their ability to create an atmosphere that was safe, respectful and unobtrusive enough to allow the film to be real Thanks to you all. Sandi

  • http://paulashatsky@hotmail.com paula shatsky

    FOREIGNID: 18146
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    You may use HTML tags for style and links.
    After seeing the film on POV Thursday evening, I was compelled to re-watch it online the next day. The unflinching pain of both these women, and the way each one percevered in order to own their truth is remarkable. Both of these women are survivors and heroines in their own right. It was very poignant to me that despite the fact that both Monika and Helen lost both of their parents in the most violent of ways, (murder, execution, and suicide), they are pacifist gentlewomen, each on a mission to find a way to out of the madness into sanity.
    Thank you Mr. Moll for making this compelling film.It should be manditory viewing in all middle schools around the world.
    Paula Shatsky
    Pasadena, Ca.

  • Jacqueline Hull

    FOREIGNID: 18147
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Thank you for making this film and thanks you all for your heartbreaking and heartwarming comments.
    From Boulder, Co.

  • Christine

    FOREIGNID: 18148
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I think this film is very important and timely and should be used to teach people about the Holocaust and about the stories of survivors and those who inherit these legacies. Helena, her daughter, and Monica showed a lot of courage and compassion in meeting each other and returning to the site of all of the atrocity, and in trying to understand eachother’s perspectives– and that was truly moving. Survivors are so concerned about the legacy, that their testimony is not forgotten and the conversation she had with Monica at the village I thought was very important. I felt that their communication was limited to some extent by the communication barrier. I think that collaboration in education about the Holocaust for Americans students etc and Germans, Israelis, and other nations where the Holocaust took place like Eastern Europe, Romania, etc, would be good for promoting a common understanding about each others perspectives. I think this is important especially in this time in which survivors are passing away, and in which people, family members and descendents are still living with its legacy– to better understand the legacy for surviors and their families, perpretrator’s families, and the collective education and learning on the holocaust, and how this learning is being channeled. What is it like for a German student to learn about the Holocaust? What is it like for an Israeli? What is it like for a Polish student? … etc… Also, not just for the nations where this occurred, for other nations learning about the Holocaust in history as well.
    Sincerely,
    Christine Brummer

  • http://www.pbs.org/pov/blog/2008/12/inheritance_share_your_thought.html Marylou Gonzalez

    FOREIGNID: 18149
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    To both Helen and Monika.
    I am a daughter of a woman who survived World War Two in Ettelbruck, Luxembourg. I have searched my whole life for answers to the atrocities of that time and what my mother has suffered, and her family, and of everyone who had to endure that time. I cry and cry and I cannot understand, as neither of you can. I am so touched by both of you for your bravery. That statement seems so trite, as I see your tortured memories and you both try to come to terms with your heritage. I feel your pain, and I cry for you both, and my mother. As Vivian states in the documentary, she was not in the camp…..but, as daughters, we feel our mother’s pain, and no one can ever understand this.
    My mother told me once, as I was researching a paper on this topic, and trying to find my own answers, “This was an event, It happened.” There are no answers to such atrocities.
    I commend you both for your courage. The world needs to know, and to never forget. It is a mission. And, Monika, I don’t hate you. I love you. I love Helen. I pray for your peace, and my peace, and our children’s peace. But we all know that is not for this side of heaven. Continue, bravely, in your work. I thank you. I cry for you. I pray for you both.
    God bless you always.
    My mother’s maiden name is Thiry, and my grandfather was caught up in this mess. My mother still has nightmares. I also cry for her.

  • Ray Ring

    FOREIGNID: 18150
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I watched the documentary the other night and I am still thinking about Mrs. Jonas. I try to remember what I was doing at 15, enjoying friends, going to dance class, I had a carefree life. I can’t imagine the brutality Mrs. Jonas went through. My parents informed their children at a young age about the Holocost and I watched documentaries with my dad during the late 50′, and 60′s. After watching the documentary I have been reading about Goth and understand that he was a monster and his hanging seemed too easy a way to go. I can’t watch Sophies Choice or Schindler’s list, it’s too painfulo. But for some reason I am drawn to documentaries. Maybe it has something to do with a documentary to me is not entertainment. Monica has had a hard life, no doubt, but Mrs. Jonas is an unbelieveable woman, to survive, to go to the US, has children, and then her dear husband’s death. How much suffering can one woman endure?

  • nancy hoffman

    FOREIGNID: 18151
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Thank you, Helen and Monika, for your stunning example of resilience and determination to attempt to heal. You’ve inspired me to be stronger in my own life. peace.

  • Bridgette Henry

    FOREIGNID: 18152
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    My partner and I just finished watching “Inheirtance.” What a powerful film! Our hearts went out to Helen and Monika who were both unfortunate enough to have had Amon Goeth in their lives.
    I do not even pretend to understand why some people seem to live for evil, but I do know that the only way to combat evil is through tolerance and truth. Monika Hertwig and Helena Jonas took a giant step in that direction when they met and shared their mutual pain. i don’t know how I would have handled meeting the daughter of the man who brutalized and killed so many people, or how I could have faced the woman who survived my father’s evil.
    I wish you both peace in your lives. Thank you for your courage andy your willingness to share your story.

  • Peter Linka

    FOREIGNID: 18153
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Monika and Helena… Thank you for sharing your story. My first wife was born in 1941 in Germany and lived through the ar and post war times in Germany. When I travelled back to Germany with her, in 1971, she, and her family would not speak of the war at all. I met her father, who must have been involved in some way, because I saw a picture of him, standing in a group with Hitler.
    Sadly she was also permanently damaged by the awful events of the war and never found peace.
    As a Canadian, born and raised in a free society, I am grateful to you for helping me to understand and I promise I will never forget.
    God bless you.

  • Gregory A Hall

    FOREIGNID: 18154
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Dear Mr. Moll,
    Your “Inheritance” documentary is the most brilliant film I have ever
    seen about the “Holocaust”, and subsequent fallout for the next two
    generations, both Germans and Jewish.
    Your juxtaposition in filming of Helen and Monika, going back and forth,
    sure packed a punch, the early phone calls and journey to meet one another
    showed major reality of some people.
    I am unable to express what a horrible and beautiful documentary you
    directed.
    I am a Southern reared man, and it is nearly impossible for me to shed tears.,,
    well I teared up before the women ever saw one another.
    Your presentation of the emotional pain and agony both Helen and Monika
    suffered, is of the highest art.
    I can only hope you are nominated for the “Best Documentary” academy
    award (and get it) or a Noble Prize (for making sense for peace).
    Thank You for your brilliant directing, and bringing Helen and Monika’s
    life history, sharing it with the world.
    Helen and Monika are he finest examples of civilian heroines.
    I wish you the highest recognition of your directing professionalism.
    With sincerest reagards and appreciation,
    Gregory A. Hall
    sddude@netscape.com

  • Diana

    FOREIGNID: 18155
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    It was very sad for me to watch again how the tragedy of the holocaust has cut so deep into lives. I have only the greatest empathy and sorrow for those who had experieced it. Yet I had never thought of the families of the perpertrators The shame and guilt of the parents are carried upon the children is horrible but a reality .
    I think it is a very good perspective for others to experience the child’s view(Monika) and her opportunity to come to terms with what she cannot change (her paternal past) by learning from Helen’s experience.
    Helen is very courages to meet with her tormentor’s daughter and It is very brave of Monika to face the shame of her father in front of the world.
    May all the people who survived this tragedy continue to heal and find peace in their lives
    This documentary would be a great educational tool to use in social studies and history classes in highschools. Seeing these women would help students connect the holocaust to flesh and blood people as themselves and not an arbitrary historical event.
    Sincerely,
    Diana Pontes

  • jerry

    FOREIGNID: 18156
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Has this wonderful enlightening program been shown in Germany. If not, why?

  • DJW

    FOREIGNID: 18157
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    An incredibly moving story. I have recommended it to others. Thank you for sharing it.
    My question is for Monika.
    In the film, there is mention of Hermann Goering’s daughter and how you hated her, at least at the time. Has that sense of hatred changed and even, has there been a desire to reach out to other children of perpetrators? It occurred to me that just as Schindler’s List allowed survivors to begin to talk about their experience, is it possible that this documentary will allow other children of Nazi officers and soldiers who were involved in the Holocaust to come forward and begin to discuss their experiences? Or perhaps the sense of denial is still too powerful…

  • Sabina

    FOREIGNID: 18158
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I think Helen was way too hard on Monika especially when they were in the villa & Helen lashed out at her when Monika tried to explain what she thought was going on with her father & why he died. But I don’t think Helen meant harm; being at the villa seemed to put her, understandidly, over the edge. Monika is a victim too, an innocent one. She should not be expected to shoulder the guilt for the sins of her father. I really felt sad for her. And Helen; an innocent victim also. What she has lived through must be, at times, simply unbearable.

  • Karen Colin

    FOREIGNID: 18159
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Monica was an infant when her father was hung for his heinous crimes. She is no more guilty than were the countless other innocent victims of the Jewish Holocaust, or the victims of other hate crimes that have occurred throughout history. Monica was born to two parents who were monsters, and who the world saw as monsters. One parent she never knew – except as history tells it – and there is no denying that he was a hateful, man who caused nothing but suffering. The other parent, Monica’s Mother, stood by with blinders on and seemed to care only for her own comfort. Later Monica’s Mother treated Monica harshly and condemned Monica, telling her that she essentially was a monster just like her father, and passing a judgment that Monica would die the same way that her father would.
    Monica did nothing but to be born to these two people. She did nothing wrong – she is reaching out with compassion. All she wants is not to be judged a monster because of who her parents were. Monica – you are nothing like your parents! You are a beautiful person! You have already reached a level of healing and peace that your parents never knew! Thank you for the beauty that you bring to the world!
    Helen thank you for letting Monica into your life and for sharing so much with her and the world. Someone once said that for some things perhaps there can never be closure. Perhaps this experience is one for which there can really be no closure – I don’t know. Monica said this was the start of a new life for her. However each of you and your families proceed from here, I wish you the best in healing and living your new life to the fullest and the most joyful way possible.
    Thank you both for sharing your stories.

  • frederick Klotsch

    FOREIGNID: 18160
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Dear Helen. After seeing last night for the first time this very special POV program on our local station I feel compelled to write to you.. It is as I have known you all my life and yet we both know that’s not so. I heard about this special in the early part of last dec. on NPR radio and I really wanted to see you ever since. So again last night was my first chance. I grown up in Germany and as a little child remember nothing but war. Like so many of us children we could not understand and actually accepted this day and night. bombing out of the sky ,I suppose it was normal since this is all we knew.My hometown was Cologne and I’m sure you may know that city by the end was 94% destroyed .My school years was practically a total loss because no school buildings teachers and or cellar life for above reasons .In my last year I suppose it was ,that I had questions first with my mother and later teachers .And like a stone wall no one wanted to talk about there horrific past and experiences .I’m sure everyone was traumatized.I can remember “shut up ” to many times. At 13 years I run away from home and never returned. After spending 4 years as an apprentice in my uncles bakery I left Germany and I found myself in Switzerland my first foreign country of so many more to come. There for the first time I learned about the Nazis ie. Gestapo ,,SS and so on and there horrific deeds.I do realize that most people just can’t comprehend Hitlers system of spying on each other and turning you in, from father to son/daughter let alone neighbors and so on. I do remember people only talked in whispers as everyone was scared.. First of course in disbelieve but gradually I submerged myself in anything I could learn about this period in time. Not until I came to the USA in 1959 and of course had to learn english and find work to sustain myself did I also found more and more material about my INHERITANCE as a German. Ever so slowly over time did I learn what actually did happen in a country which was a proud member on the world stage of let’s say civilized societies and educated people. It had suffered tremendously in treasure and human sacrifice during and after WW .1 And as the world has learned in a period of tremendous sacrifice , hunger no work or real future ,it becomes venerable from the outside as well strong talking individuals who seize the moment. Such was the case as Hitler came on the scene. Helen I am not talking about something you don’t know but as some readers should at least comprehend this time period was just ripe for a Bastard as Herr Hitler to take advantage. HE DID NOT SURROUND HIMSELF WITH INTELLECTUALS but rather street fighters scum and loudmouths. Promise anything ,deliver very little and find someone to blame. And we all know now who he picked on the most. Stir that day and night and they had the moment to themselves and got stronger every day. I certainly do not want to condone this people but rather say from what I have learned often in disbelieve.I found Monika a product of that time but also so disappointed in her as just not getting it, which may be the problem with all of Germany even today . Not having been exposed to there fathers deeds and actually educated to what really happened there.? I could go on about so many things but this is a puplic forum. I want to thank you so very much to have exposed yourself once more to a time and place the world should spend more time to look see and try to comprehend what tool place with the sanctions of a government and a selected few carried out such orders. I for one will carry this scars for the rest of my life and I’m really troubled what I see what’s going on again all over the middle east right now……. frederick k.

  • Lori C.

    FOREIGNID: 18161
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    i cannot begin to express the well of emotions that this film tapped for me. i was lucky enough to catch it late this evening when i should have been sleeping. now there will be little or no sleep for me tonight. i cannot erase these beautiful women frol my mind. monika,weeping with fear and shame and regret before hellos were even exchanged. helena,standing by the villa window and crying,”i was all alone” as she must have seen ghosts marching down the path. life is so long when one is in pain. how does heaven expect us to cope? from where do we summon that kind of grace? these women know. their very lives are examples of that grace. they could have stayed in their circle of life and denied each others existence, never acknowledging the others pain. but they met in that haunted place and found a common goal…that their story be heard and not forgotten. i heard. and i will not forget.

  • Brooke Witham

    FOREIGNID: 18162
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Ms Herwig,
    I sincerely hope you have love in your life. You deserve it!
    Brooke

  • A. Skidmore

    FOREIGNID: 18163
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Dear Monika:
    After watching Inheritance my heart went out to you. Please come to terms with the fact that you are not to blame and no one can hate you for who your father was. There is nothing of him in you. You have a great deal of courage and kindness. While Helen suffered a tremendous life because she was Jewish, she in turn had trouble seeing you because of your association to that horrible time, basically disliking you because of what you represented. A terrible injustice she did not see in herself. Monika, you are a great lady, may the Lord grant you peace and many blessings.

  • cynthia

    FOREIGNID: 18164
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I went out and purchased the DVD because I want every person I know to watch this story and be just as moved as I was. We cannot forget, and like Helen said, we need to make sure that the younger generation knows such history as it really was, not how some wanted it remembered, so that it is never repeated again. Thank you James Moll for bring this story to light.

  • John L Levis

    FOREIGNID: 18165
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I just watched[04/02/09] the POV documentary “Inheritance”.About Helen Jonas & Monika Hertwig.I am a WWII War Child.And I am deep into WWII and all its unbelieviable horror.My Father served in the WWII U.S.7th Army.And they liberated the concertration camp Daucher.I have an offical U.S.Army photo.Taken in the concentration camp,Deucher.Of dozen’s dead bodies stack up. And I have also seen & have in my WWII films.Of actual footage Alfred Hitchock produced 1hr documentary.On the concentration camps,the Allied liberated. I also have the movie”Schinder’s List” & the movie”Playing For Time”.My heart really goes out to all the people that suffered though WWII.And especially the survivor’s of the concertration camp’s.And I have quit a few film’s documentries of the people[mostly the Jews].Telling their horrorible stories about their experiences.Being in the concertration camp’s or death camp’s.Helen Jonas & Monika Hertwig mutual true stories where both heartbreaking.I also have the film”Childern Of the Third Reich”.Where they too have to come to grip’s with who & what,their father were & did.Just like Monika Hertwig.It’s very sad to say that the younger generation.Both here in the U.S.A. & in Europe.Have little or no interest’s on or about WWII,and/or the Holocaust.As the age old proverb goes”They who do not learn from the past.Will in turn repeat it”

  • leeann

    FOREIGNID: 18326
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    DEAR MONIKA AND HELEN:
    WOW THERE IS SO MUCH TO SAY…..I’VE READ ALL OF THE COMMENTS AND I AM SO HEARTENED AND PROUD TO SEE SO MANY WONDERFUL COMMENTS….
    YOU BOTH ARE BRAVE…OF COURSE FROM OPPOSITE SIDES OF THE SPECTRUM …
    HELEN,,,YOU ARE THE TRUE DEFINITION OF SURVIVAL!!! YOU MUST NEVER STOP SPREADING YOUR STORY. YOU MUST NEVER STOP TELLING YOUR STORY. PEOPLE HAVE BEEN VICTIMS FROM TIME ONE, ESPECIALLY WOMAN. LOOK AT THE MIDDLE EAST, DARFUR, THE CONGO….WOMAN HAVE SUFFERED UNBELIEVABLE ATROCITIES, I HOPE I SPELLED THAT WORD RIGHT. YOU ARE AN INSPIRATION THAT TRANCENDS TIME, CULTURE, WEALTH ETC..UNFORTUNATELY TIME HAS A VERY BAD HABIT OF MAKING PEOPLE FORGET..LOOK AT SEPTEMBER 11TH, MOST PEOPLE DON’T EVEN PAY ATTENTION TO THAT DATE AND THAT WAS ONLY 9 YEARS AGO. PEOPLE FORGET THAT IF YOU DON’T STUDY YOUR PAST, IT WILL REPEAT ITSELF USUALLY IN WAYS THAT ARE WORSE THAN WHEN IT FIRST HAPPENED. TODAYS EXAMPLE AT THE HOLOCAUST MUSEUM IS A PRIME EXAMPLE. I BELIEVE THAT THE WHOLE POINT OF YOUR INVOLVEMENT IN THIS DOCUMENTARY IS TO DISPELL ALL OF THE FALSEHOODS THAT WAS ORIGINALLY TOLD BACK WHEN THIS HAPPENED TO APPEASE EVERYONE’S GUILT, BECAUSE … THERE WAS A LOT OF GUILT FOR WHAT PEOPLE DIDN’T DO. I AGREE WITH ANOTHER WRITER THAT MY FAVORITE PART WAS WHEN YOU TOLD MONIKA THAT WASN’T WHAT HAPPENED..THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED, WHETHER YOU WANT TO BELIEVE OR ACCEPT IT…..THAT IS SUCH A POWERFUL FORUM.
    MONIKA…..YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME FOR YOUR PARENTS. YOU WERE SO YOUNG AND EVEN IF YOU WERE OLDER, IN THOSE TIMES, CHILDREN LISTENED TO THEIR PARENTS. THAT WAS THE WHOLE POINT OF HITLERS PLOT…GET TO THE CHILDREN, BRAINWASH THE CHILDREN , THEY ARE THE FUTURE ROADWAY OF HATE…I UNDERSTAND YOU ARE ANGRY WITH YOUR MOTHER FOR NOT DOING ANYTHING…AND YES IT DISGUSTS ME TOO…HOWEVER, WOMAN BACK THEN HAD A LOT OF ISSUES TO DEAL WITH. THEY WEREN’T TREATED AS EQUAL OR EVEN CLOSE TO IT. SHE PUT UP A WALL / A BUFFER TO SHIELD HERSELF FROM THE REAL ATROCITIES GOING ON. YOUR FATHER, WELL THERE IS NOTHING TO SAY ..YOU KNOW…
    SOMEHOW , SOMEWAY OUT OF ALL THIS …..YOU ARE AN EXAMPLE THAT SHOWS THAT WE ARE NOT OF OUR PARENTS …YOU HAVE A WONDERFUL STORY TO SHARE WITH YOUR COUNTRY AND GUILT SHOULD HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH IT. STAND UP AND BE PROUD OF WHAT YOU CAN BRING TO THE FUTURE GENERATION….

  • kim

    FOREIGNID: 20915
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I accidently fell upon this story. When I saw the preview tonight I wanted to watch it as I am always interested in anything of this subject matter. There are no words to express the feelings I have. My stomach tightened and I was crying early on into it.My heart broke when Monika first spoke with Helen on the phone in the hotel. I literally felt her pain and wanted to reach out and hug her. Her eyes are sad even when she is smiling. She’s not too blame for the sins of her father. They lied to her constantly while she was growing up. I realize the pain of Helen also. I cried for her, too, but I felt like she didn’t see that Monika was only trying to explain what she was taught growing up..not argue the point with Helen. Helen, I cannot comprehend the pain of your life. I do not think I could have been as strong as you. I felt your pain watching your memories come flooding back.Both of you have had to deal with things in your life that would kill most people. My heart aches for both of you. The Holocaust has always been an important interest of mine though I was born in 1959 and in the U.S. It breaks my heart to watch things about it but I have to watch. In reading these other comments on this post you both can see that people do still care. I almost felt like I knew you personally by the time the show was over. I pray you both find healing. Thank you for sharing your story and emotion.

  • Bfilomia

    I agree with you, but I don’t think that they have talk  to each other since the visit to Krakow, what a shame because Helen  inspire the perdon that must people are looking and don’t get. 

  • Barbara Gray

    Thank you for making this very important documentary!

    Monika, so fragile and sweet and ridden with the disgrace of her father. Monika, you were just as much his victim as was Helen. Yes, in different ways, yet still an innocent victim. Do not view him as your father – believe instead that you are an innocent child of God…because you really are. 

    Monika and Helen, both so good and kind and brave to courageously relive all the horrors in order to tell their stories, both to each other and to the rest of us. Prayers, blessings, and much peace to you both.