What’s Your POV About ‘Inheritance’

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Inheritance by James Moll is the last film of POV’s 2008 season, and it’s a stunner. It tells the story of Monika Hertwig, the daughter of mass murderer Amon Goeth, and her emotional meeting with Helen Jonas, one of her father’s victims during World War II.

Inheritance airs on select PBS stations next Wednesday, December 10, 2008 at 9 PM. (Schedules vary, so check your local listings.) The film will also be available in its entirety online from December 11, 2008 to January 4, 2009 on the POV website.

Monika never knew her father and grew up believing that he had died during the war. But when she was 11 years old, her mother, in a moment of anger, said “You are like your father and you will die like him!” Monika was stunned; as she learned more about her father, she was horrified by his legacy. Amon Goeth is the Nazi commander of the Plaszow concentration camp (portrayed by Ralph Fiennes in Schindler’s List) who oversaw the death of thousands of Jews.

Helen Jonas was 15 years old when she arrived with other Jews at the Plaszow camp in Poland, which was both a work camp and a death camp. One day, an imposing SS officer pointed at her and ordered, “I want her in my house.” That officer was Amon Goeth. Helen lived in the basement of the “beautiful villa” that he had built for himself and his wife. She worked as a house servant for Goeth, who would beat her while hurling vulgar invectives. She witnessed innumerable acts of murder and brutality. Her mother, her boyfriend, and thousands of others died in Plaszow.
When Monika reached out to Helen asking for a meeting, Helen initially resisted the idea. She feels sorry for Monika, but asks why should she be expected to help the child of a “perpetrator”? Eventually she realizes that returning to Poland and meeting Monica might serve her own emotional need to find answers. The women arrange to meet at the Plaszow camp memorial to the unnamed thousands who died there. The meeting, with Helen’s daughter Vivian accompanying her, must count as one of the most heartrending and searing evocations of the Holocaust’s legacy ever filmed — especially when the women visit the “beautiful villa,” which still stands today with its horrible memories for Helen and implacable reality for Monika.

Monika says, “Every father who is in a war should think about his children… they will never live a normal life.” What can Monika and Helen’s children and grandchildren take away from the meeting between the two women? Do you relate to one of the women in the film more than the other, and if so, why? How can children of perpetrators deal with their family legacy?

Ruiyan Xu
Ruiyan Xu
Former POVer Ruiyan Xu worked on developing and producing materials for POV's website. Before coming to POV, she worked in the Interactive and Broadband department at Channel Thirteen/WNET. Ruiyan was born in Shanghai and graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in Modern Culture and Media.
  • susan stromberg

    FOREIGNID: 17879
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    Ywhy was Inheirtance documentry not on tv on 12/10/08??
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  • http://www.pbs.org/pov Andrew Catauro

    FOREIGNID: 17880
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Hi Susan,
    If your local PBS affiliate did not air Inheritance tonight, you can follow this link to see when it will: http://www.pbs.org/pov/local_broadcast_v3.html
    You can also watch the film in it’s entirety on the P.O.V. website, starting December 11th.
    Thanks

  • Bill Philbeck

    FOREIGNID: 17881
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    I have shown Schindler’s List every year to my students and often wondered what happened to Helen. This show broke my heart and I truly hurt for both Helen and Monika as their lives were forever altered by someone elses evil. You are both in my prayers.
    Bill Philbeck

  • Richard K Giffen

    FOREIGNID: 17882
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    Very powerful. “When will we ever learn?”
    But can we learn? Brutality continues to be repeated.

  • Arthur

    FOREIGNID: 17883
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    What a marvelous, informative and moving film. All I could think was that this should be shown in every schoo.

  • Renu

    FOREIGNID: 17884
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    This story was so tragic. My heart goes out to both women however I truly admire Helen’s spirit and her grit. My best to her and her family. Monica’s willingness to look at the truth of her father was also hard. Really an excellent film.

  • Louis Trachtman

    FOREIGNID: 17885
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    The documentary was beyond praiseworthy – it is a masterpiece. Helen and Monika, Jew and non-Jew, but both born with a “Jewish heart,” which is not really explainable in scientific terms. Moll deserves all the credit he can get for making this documentary. More are necessary, too. As he explained, not too much can be said, read, seen or otherwise contemplated about the Holacaust. Thanks to PBS for airing this film.

  • Greg B

    FOREIGNID: 17886
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    I was deeply touched by Monika’s “strength”.
    The realization and consequent attempts to reconcile, within herself, of her conficting constitution was remarkable.
    We see and feel Monika’s attempt to reach within herself to “pull” away from all that she knew and believed of herself and her life.
    Analogically, it would be like waking one morning in a foreign land where we neither understood the language or recognized any familiarity….and STILL pushed forward to make sense of it. Truly, a deeply touching exposition of how we deal with pain in the very very human drama.
    Monika’s humanity reached out and dare I say, with her compassion, attempted to assuage the enormous pains suffered in the times when her father lived and died.

  • gordie

    FOREIGNID: 17887
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    Helen is a victim of mans inhumanity to man, but Monica is a victim of her own parents both mother and father. Both of these women have a very heavy burden and I wish them both the best of luck in sorting their issues out. You would have to be very cold not to be touched by their struggles.

  • Kathy

    FOREIGNID: 17888
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    Hello–I had just caught the tail end of this on PBS but it looks like such a compelling and powerful story. Does anyone know whether it will not be available online until tomorrow morning, or could I wait just until midnight?

  • Judy

    FOREIGNID: 17889
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    The impact of war is measured by our children. It is not obvious the Oman awas emotionally disturbed. I cannot imagine Monika childhood scared by her mother’s mental issues and her father’s history. I know that children of Holocaust survivors carry their parents pain. My mother used to tell me that the seeds our suffer for the parents. How true indeed.
    This movie takes the viewer to a new place, reviewing the impact to the children of the war.
    there was a recent Isreali movie made about the grandchildren of a Nazi. I cannot imagine the guilt these children must bare. It was a good documentary.

  • Candice

    FOREIGNID: 17890
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    I can’t even begin to know what the daughter of the monster must feel. You have to separate yourself from him and yet you are him. To deny what he was and what he did you risk allowing it to happen again. To accept it is to somehow open yourself up to the darkness . She and all those who suffered unspeakable things at his whim have my prayers.
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  • Publius

    FOREIGNID: 17891
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    For me, as a Jew, the most powerful moment was when Monica lit a candle at the memorial site. Every man wants to gain some semblence of immortality by passing his heritage on to his children as his legacy. By lighting that candle at that place, Monica made a powerful statement that Amon Goert had not only lost the war and his life but that he had left no legacy and that his beliefs and conduct had been utterly rejected by his daughter. The evil stopped with him, and Monica has redeemed her family name and heritage through her strength of character.

  • Simon Kilmurry

    FOREIGNID: 17892
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    Kathy: The film will be available online starting tomorrow at http://www.pov.org

  • Suzy

    FOREIGNID: 17894
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    Helen is an amazing , inspirational woman. What a powerful view of history and into the present. Thank you both Helen and Monica for having the courage and strength to allow this to be filmed. James Moll deserves special recognition for this thoughtful documentary.

  • Jim Miller

    FOREIGNID: 17893
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    This was a powerful film. I have visited many of the sites in Poland and Lithuania where the Nazis did their deeds. I think part of what drives me is that my father was at My Lai. He never spoke of it until shortly before his death in 1990. I have just an inkling of what Monika felt.

  • Georgia Purdy

    FOREIGNID: 17895
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    Thank you James, Helen, and Monika for bringing viewers this very painful story. I admire both women, not only for meeting in Poland, but allowing this to be be filmed. Personal stories give us a picture that facts in history books never do.
    Again, thank you for sharing.

  • Christine Knights

    FOREIGNID: 17896
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    I have been teaching the history of The Holocaust for the past ten years at Stony Brook University and this documentary will rank among the most important films I show in class. It is a powerful testament to a period in history that forever changed civilization. Thank you for making it and thank you to Helen and Monika for their courage and witness to the horrible truths.

  • Barb

    FOREIGNID: 17897
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    What a heart-wrenching story! Both women were so strong to face the past that hurt each of them in different ways. I give Monica much credit for seeking out the opportunity to find out exactly what kind of person her father was. How sad…but it was good to see she was taking every opportunity to teach her beautiful grandson not to hate those who are different from him.

  • patricia o’hara

    FOREIGNID: 17898
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    thank you seems so inadequate for such a seering experience that will be in my thoughts for a long time, and shape even more my response to teaching of the lessons we need to pass on. both women and their families are in my prayers. i will bring word of this so important film to my miryams prayer group in the morning. pat ohara

  • John K

    FOREIGNID: 17899
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    This film was truly enlightening. Several years back I was a volunteer working for an organization to help transform the former Plaszow camp into a memorial park where individuals can go to learn and pay respects. Shortly before the Nazis were driven out they razed the camp so very little evidence is left. During my stay I found Amon Goeth’s villa and an elderly gentleman working on the grounds led me inside. I speak very little Polish but just enough to piece together what he was saying. As we learned form the film he too spoke of the unspeakable things that took place there and even mentioned something about a maid living there. Now I know who this maid was. I’m very proud to see that some recognition has been brought upon Plaszow as many lives were lost and it provides us reminders of what must never happen again.

  • http://www.gaylemahoney.com Gayle

    FOREIGNID: 17900
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    I can’t begin to imagine the depth of pain and sorrow that either Helen or Monika may feel. But by opening up their own journeys to the rest of us, maybe we can all FINALLY find healing and peace.
    all the best to all who are involved in this great documentary.
    Gayle Mahoney

  • Beth

    FOREIGNID: 17901
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    Thank you for airing tihs powerful piece of film making. Althought I am only in my late 40′s and non-Jewish I have always had a deep sense of sorrow for the atrocities committed against the Jews and others during the Holocaust. I have read many books and watched many documentaries and this one is so unique offering such a different perspective on the horrors committed by the Germans.
    I will pray for some kind of peace for both Helen and Monika.

  • Boaz Heilman

    FOREIGNID: 17902
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    Unbelievably powerful and moving. The meeting between the two women, the legacies they each carry–life and death, holy and evil. The sheer, enormous tragedy of it all–a deep commentary on humanity. Should be watched by all whose lives were somehow touched by the Holocaust–and that’s all of us.

  • Bonnie Pomfret

    FOREIGNID: 17903
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    Although Monika is courageous to confront her heritage after living in the shelter of her family’s lies, Helen is extraordinarily brave in her willingness to go back and experience yet again such a painful period of her life, and to meet with Monika. I was struck by the parallel that both these women have lost close family members to suicide some years after the War, and I was deeply affected by the film.
    My father, a country boy of 18 from Massachusetts, volunteered for the War. As a tank repairman he did not see the front lines of battle. However, he witnessed the opening of the Dachau concentration camp and it scarred him for life. He refused to talk about it; I have some empathy for other children of those who lived through the horror of those times.
    Thank you Monika and especially thank you Helen, for your willingness to allow the making of this film. We must not forget!

  • Carol

    FOREIGNID: 17904
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    Very moving and well done documentary. Both women bear tremendous burdens not of their own making. Monica’s seeking an answer to her mother’s behavior is completely understandable. She was an infant when her father was executed and had no memory or relationship with him. Her mother, on the other hand, was her parent and present in her life. Through Monica’s memories of Ruth, it is clear that Ruth had a personality disorder that allowed her to ignore and deny the horrors around her. Unfortunately, Rwanda, Darfur, Sudan, and countless other instances of genocidal wars simply illuminate how thin the veneer of civilization really is. Let us hope that someday soon our children and gandchildren might be spared the agonies of Helen and Monica.

  • Todd Wheaton

    FOREIGNID: 17905
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    This is truly a new perspective on one of the greatest of human tragedies. Through the eyes of both women, we see the legacy of pain and sadness that can only heal through the actions of people like them. Not only was I deeply moved by these very human people, I was impressed by their candor, strength and courage. My heart goes out to both of them.

  • Ginette

    FOREIGNID: 17906
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    Thank you PBS and Director Moll for an excellent POV which goes beyond ‘Schindler’s List’. Too many people only know the number: 6 million. But not many know the stories of the survivors and the legacy inherited by the next generation. We must never forget!

  • karen

    FOREIGNID: 17907
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    I watched this documentary tonight, and was deeply moved by everything that it brought to light. It was judiciously made, and truly, I felt, drew a portrait of both women – and both children – what they saw, and suffered, and what they have both had to live with ever since.
    It has been especially poignant for me, as I am the child of a concentration camp survivor also, although my father was not Jewish; he was arrested as a result of his work saving Jewish refugees in Scandinavia and spent two and a half years in Buchenwald, and died young, as a result of ill-health stemming from his wartime experience.
    Every child of a survivor of the camps has a story. However it is rare that someone like Monica has the courage to come forward, from “the other side” and tell hers,as a child of those who perpetrated terrible acts, and for that I am deeply grateful. Like Helen, whose story was truly harrowing, she was honest, and prepared to face and publicly discuss the truly appalling history that they both lived.
    Would that there were more like them. Blessings and thanks to them both for their incredible bravery in facing the pain of their history with such grace.

  • Rhonda

    FOREIGNID: 17908
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    Inside I’m filled with the words I want to write … but they all seem trivial and inadequate. Such a terrible horror will never slip away into memory as long as people want to know and accept the truth. I say to myself … I can’t imagine the world as it was back then, that people could be so utterly sick and soul-less, and yet I know sadly pure evil still exists in the world today. But I also know these two exceptional women shared something beyond impossible for me to imagine, and I’m so very grateful they allowed me to share it with them. Maybe there’s hope for the rest of us. Peace, everyone.

  • Scattergood

    FOREIGNID: 17909
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    Thanks to PBS and director Moll for letting us share a few moments in the lives of Helen, her daughter and Monika, They are brave women and I was pleased to see that neither woman came across as a saint but real person capable of expressing their feelings and thoughts. Personally, I found the deaths by suicide of Helen’s husband and Monika’s mother especially moving. That these two women dared go were their departed ones could not illustrated to me the strength of the human spirit and well as the vulnerability of others.

  • Stan and Fran

    FOREIGNID: 17910
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    A powerful, memorable film The kind of quality you will only see on PBS. Both women are heros. Each in there own way.

  • Susanne

    FOREIGNID: 17911
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    The meeting between Helen and Monika, affacted in such diametrically different experiences during the Holocaust was from my POV a futile attempt at trying to bring some kind of sense out of the abysmal senselessness that was the Holocaust. I found it excruciating to not only witness their individual pain and suffering but also in realizing how no bridge could ever really be built between them to make a meaningful connection. The source of their pain may have seemed like their common denominator but it was anything but, because of their vastly different associations, or lack thereof, with Amon Goetz. Each one represent a heartbreaking and unfathomable fate, but not meant to intersect and converge side by side.

  • http://www.amberrose.com Amber Rose

    FOREIGNID: 17912
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    This was an incredibly movie film…I cried almost all the way through it…..especially remembering the scenes from “Schindler’s List.”…. if you liked this…. you might like “Forgiving Dr. Mengele” the story of Eva Mozes Kor, a twin tortured in Auschwitz, who does not want to be a victim anymore and decides to forgive Dr. Mengele! It is an amazing film. She is still alive and opened the C.A.N.D.L.E.S. Holocaust in Terre Haute, Indiana. There can never be enough films on the Holocaust!!!!!
    Amber Rose

  • Jeanetta

    FOREIGNID: 17913
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    Somehow I was born with a ‘universal heart’. My husband and I have done a “Holocaust Tour” of Germany, Poland and the Czech, are members of the Holocaust Museum in D.C. and have visited there twice and have also visited the museum in Jerusalem. My youngest brother and his wife have lived in Jerusalem almost 20 years and are permanent residents. We are so thankful to have viewed this incredible documentary. May it be viewed by thousands — or better yet — millions. Thank you so much for filming this piece of reality history.

  • Lance Kounitz

    FOREIGNID: 17914
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    Another powerful well crafted film on the Holocost that should been seen far and wide. We must remember always, that for evil people to continue to do their crimes, good people need only to do nothing. Sadly for Monika, her mother shares in the guilt along with all the “citizens” who lived near the camps…they knew what was going on there. No one could convince me otherwise. Where were the mass protests against Hitler’s polices? “Absolute power corrupts absolutley.”

  • Carolyn

    FOREIGNID: 17915
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    This was one of the most impressive films that I have seen about the holocaust. Both Helen and Monika showed great strength of character. I especially identified with Helen, since most of my paternal grandfather’s famiily from Krakow perished during the holocaust. Helen was very courageous to return to Monika’s parents’ house in the Plaszow concentration camp,where she witnessed and experienced such atrocities. She is indeed a brave woman. I admire Monika also for seeking the truth about her parents, particularly her evil father. Both women are positive role models for future generations.

  • Shawn

    FOREIGNID: 17916
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    Wow. That is all I can say. Wow. I was extremely touched, hit closer to home really. If you can imagine being a perpetrator or a child of a perpetrator, which most of us would be, it would bring us to tears. Although 6 million of Jews that were murdered, nothing could compare to our daily burdens. I was abused, molested as a child, my father before him, his father and who knows what my grandfather’s father has done to him. Will someone learn from their actions? Maybe some of us has changed for the better to prevent another generation from suffering. Or maybe some has a problem absorbing the fact that nothing good will come out of this. Because karma’s a bitch and it will bite you back. I can only hope the fact that someone can learn from this documentary and prevent another catastrophic error that could affect a person’s or everyone’s life forever.

  • Marcia Wagner

    FOREIGNID: 17917
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    What was amazing about this documentary was the commitment of both of the women to confront the truth. For Helen, recalling the events is emotionally jarring; for Monica learning the truth means accepting that her father was a sadist. Both women are to be commended for their journeys.
    I respect Helen for bearing witness both for the victims and the survivors and for teaching others the lessons of history. It is hard to understand how after seeing this documentary anyone can deny the horrors of the Holocaust.

  • George Strum

    FOREIGNID: 17918
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    This should be made into a very powerful film with Speilberg as director and producer with Meryl Streep as Erika and Barbra Streisand as Helen.

  • john j. grimes

    FOREIGNID: 17919
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    James Moll & crew deserve high praise for this mesmerizing work. The fact that these two brave women were brought together for this film was a feat in itself. I commend them both and have powerful feelings for both of them.
    I have always been fascinated by the events leading up to the horrors of WWll on both fronts as I was born in 1943 to Irish immigrants. It angers me when I hear anyone say”it happened long ago so forget it”. What happened to these people should never be forgotten by anyone, period. This documentary had us all wiping the tears from our eyes. Speilberg’s film caused this 65 year old to break down completely and I have only done that a few times.

  • louise

    FOREIGNID: 17920
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    Growing up I never had the chance or the encouragement to ask the question…..
    How did the next generation of Germans feel?
    It was not until recently, when on a trip with some girlfriends who brought a German friend to join us for the weekend that I finally had that opportunity.
    I am a Jew who was raised in England so Germany was always a sore point!
    I had never really met any non Jewish Germans and always had some fear and mistrust toward the German culture.
    I liked this girl and felt comfortable to talk to her about our weird connection through history…..
    It certainly broke a lot of barriers for me and opened my eyes to the fact that she was sheltered from the truth growing up and did not really understand the truth until later in her life.
    The world should never forget and documentaries like this keep it real.
    As time goes by and we are left with no survivors this kind of archive is incredibly important for our future generations.

  • Judith dePonceau

    FOREIGNID: 17921
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    I wonder, given Monika’s feeling of anger toward Spielberg after seeing Schindler’s List if she and Spielberg have ever met, and what her feelings are now about the movie.

  • Frank Maslowski

    FOREIGNID: 17922
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    What a powerful and moving movie….Both Helen and Monica had to be very strong to relive the horror that took place years before and the guilt that Monica must feel. Sorry folks…I don’t have that kind of strenth to face someone who endured that torment.

  • William Rios

    FOREIGNID: 17923
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    My father fought in the Korean War (US Army 65th Infantry) in 1951. He spent that year in firefights that lasted days at times. Running back for ammunition to feed his Browning Automatic Rifle and at times having to exchange the barrel because it was overheating. He explained that on one occasion when the firing stopped during a 3 day engagement there where ‘enemy’ bodies piled 4 high as far as he could see. He had been a devout Catholic and was deeply traumatized by all he saw and all the killing he had to do in order to return to Puerto Rico. He retrieved his Captain (Rush) whom had lost a foot to a mortar attack under heavy fire. He received 2 Purple Hearts and spent 3 months in a Swedish hospital ship recuperating from plastic surgery to repair his face/nose. He returned to Puerto Rico and became a CPA but committed suicide when I was 11 years old in 1973.
    I know he killed thousands of men and was not happy about it. He was severely PTSD. His generation was not likely to accept help for their ‘experience’.
    WE are all survivors of power and powerlessness. Everyone alive has DNA from victims and victors. We must embrace each other and learn from our past that we may make a different future for those that follow. In our every deliveration we must take into consideration the effect that our decisions will have on the generations that follow… It is possible to evolve and live in Peace. Namaste P.D. wonderful work!

  • Jerry Eagan

    FOREIGNID: 17924
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    I have studied the Holocaust since I was 13 or 14. That would have been 1961. My father was involved in liberating Ordruf. It was not, of course, until 1960, when Adolf Eichmann was arrested in Argentina, and tried in Israel, that many of us became aware of the Holocaust, and were at a juncture in our lives where we could read about it.
    Over the years, I’ve read probably 100 books on the Holocaust. I’ve even considered teaching a short course that would be titled: “The Perpetrators With Guns: the Einsatzgruppen.” These were probably no more than 5000 ardent German soldiers, Gestapo, Krippo, etc., who systematically shot about 1.0 – 1.5 million Jews in Poland and Russia. These were the poor souls Heinrich Himmler wanted to “save” from torment, because they were having trouble dealing with this gruesome task.
    Amon Goeth and Oskar Schindler were in the second wave, which was the concentration camp, or work camp, where the whole game was to work Jews to death, if at all possible. The story of Schindler’s List, of course, is an awe-inspiring one, since Schindler was, in many respects, a hapless kind of guy who really did believe he had “panache.”
    The horror of Goeth was something to behold. And, because of his greed, he was arrested for malfeasance, etc. He was captured and forced to stand trial. He showed no repentance for his crimes when hanged. He is surely in Hell, where there are undoubtedly many who wouldn’t leave if given the chance. They had their conscious turn on the Wheel Of Evil, which is really what they wanted — to do what they wanted — to have power over so many lives.
    I had never considered that there were children of perpetrators left who would want to discuss the crimes of their parents on camera, and go so deeply. This was a very powerful documentary. I was surprised to see Helen still alive. For some reason, I would have guessed she’d be dead. But, here I am, 61, a child born in 1947. She and Monika must be in their 70s. Monika’s story was fascinating, since it was the one untold.
    I am glad Mr. Moll made this documentary. It WAS very special, to see these places as the two women visited. I can only guess the nightmares Monika must have, and hope she does not take her own life, as her mother did. It is deeply enlightening to understand that the families of these mass murderers have suffered greatly, in some cases, because time and tide caught up with them: there was no more denial possible. And, I am sure they all realized, at some point, if they had any conscience whatsoever, that they were complicit in the slaughter.
    To me, Kurt Vonnegut’s book (and the film, with Nick Nolte), “Mother Night,” demonstrate perhaps, the fate of so many like Monika’s mother. The protagonist in “Mother Night,” of course, claims he was actually a spy for the OSS, inside Germany. And that throughout the war, he served as a propagandist for the Nazis, when he really transmitted highly classified information to the Americans about German intentions. Of course, when the war ended, Howard Campbell disappeared into the crowd, only to be found out.
    Eventually, he is arrested by Mossad, and taken to an Israeli prison, where his next door cell mate is none other than Adolph Eichmann. Campbell speaks to Eichmann daily. There is the tone of superiority in his voice. But Eichmann says to Campbell: “Campbell! I think there are enough Jews for all of us to have a few, don’t you?”
    Campbell, of course, hangs himself. It is clear that he became a Nazi, and a true anti-Semite as he filled in his role of Nazi propagandist. In fact, his rants and ravings did contribute to an unknown # of Jews who met cruel fate because of Campbell’s exhortations. So, too, I imagine, Monika’s mother must have understood, long before she committed suicide, that she was complicit, too. She averted her eyes, and blocked it all that she could.
    Amon Goeth was a true monster. It was extremely interesting to me, to see this woman, once a child, learn the true horror of what her father did … and also, what her mother did not do. I pray for Monika. It must be a horrible thing to learn more and more deeply, how close and surrounded by evil one was as a child. And that in fact, she lived just beyond the gates of Hell. My God! I would urge everyone who did not see all this documentary to catch it on the rerun. It was an astounding piece of documentary film.
    And, thank God: Oskar Schindler “did what he promised he would do” to Helen: help them get across into the Promise Land. He WAS Moses for those people on Schindler’s List. He was the counter balance to Amon Goeth. Thank God he stood firmly, with resolution. And thank God Monika had the willingness to look into the yawning gap of Hell. I pray for them all.

  • B.R. Adams

    FOREIGNID: 17925
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    We should know by now that we are all citizens of the World. The mere idea of “them” and “us’ even in something so silly as the recent politicial elections with Repbublicans and Democrats being poliarized in red and blue states is demonizing at most, and divisive at least ; when we don’t consider the individual first and foremost.
    These two women demonstrated great courage in telling their painful stories and I wept trying to absorb each ones point of view. A small girl was told nothing but lies about the circumstances surrounding the extermination of the Jews, and her parent’s compliance (and participation) while another lived in constant fear of the reality iit represented as one’s who life is devalued to the point that at any moment she and everyone she loved could be snuffed out without a care.
    We have the power within each of us for either good or evil. We need to remember that always. In the final analyis, we must be responsible for the things we do and say.
    I can’t thank those involved in making this film enough for keeping the memory of man’s inhumanity to man a cautionary lesson for generations to come.
    I personally want to thank Monica and Helen for allowing us to watch as they ripped open their hearts in order for others to learn that we are all human beings and shown the true example of how to be one.

  • Angelsings

    FOREIGNID: 17926
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Poignant & indelible describe James Moll’s true life film Inheritance which is so heartrending the viewer wants to turn it off but it’s so compelling & entrancing they cannot. Helen endured monumental trauma but lovingly learned to deal with it. Although Monika seems to be a gentle person, you can, virtually, palpate the pain and confusion she feels. Since the beginning of time, when Cain slew his brother Abel, no innocent person has to take upon them the sins of another! Monika had absolutely no part in the misdeeds of her parents & needs to remember that always. Monika is ‘paying it forward’ (making restitution) by teaching her grandson to be accepting of the differences in people. Monika, please release yourself of the self-imposed guilt you carry! You are a good person despite anything you may feel to the contrary. Let us learn to carry one another’s burdens to help lighten them. May Heavenly Father make us one as we seek Eternal Life!

  • kds

    FOREIGNID: 17927
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I am of Native American Heritage….I did live in Germany for 10 years and was married to a German Man while I lived there. I was very touched by the “feeling” I had when visiting Bergen Belsen – the “feeling” was dark and frightening.
    My now ex-husband’s father fought in the war but was captured and suffered greatly at the hands of the soviets. I could feel his pain and “feel” his extraordinary character, I like the film makers was sold a picture of the German people and it’s soldiers.
    I want to tell Monika – that I wish that the children and the children’s children of the men who killed countless Native Americans (wounded knee and more) would feel the same kind of remorse for the Genocide they perpetrated. If I had a chance to speak to Monika I would hold her hand and hug her – her pain and remorse moved me. Monika your father’s guilt and bloody hands are not yours and now that you have reached out – it is time to heal. Like Helen said – get it out and let it go. Your never really knew Ruth so do not take the words you heard in anger shape your life and the lives of your family. I am sorry to hear that she took her own life….
    This was a heart wrenching show to watch.

  • Susan Todd

    FOREIGNID: 17928
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Amazing courage on the part of both women. SO VERY moving. I am so glad you showed this film and I wish absolutely everyone could see it. We must never forget. We are all in this together.

  • Selena Jacobs

    FOREIGNID: 17929
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Man’s inhumanity to man continues.
    The documentary was poignant and emotional on many levels. But I can’t help thinking that the story of the Jews has been told many times without making the slightest bit of difference to the hatred that permeates society.
    The Jews themselves seem to have learned nothing from their ordeal. Maybe that is understandable, But isn’t it time to look at that aspect of the aftermath of the holocaust? And isn’t it time to do a documentary or two about other groups who suffered at the hands of Hitler and his sycophants.

  • Roger DesRosiers

    FOREIGNID: 17930
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    A very moving film. I greatly admire the courage of both these women, especially Helen – though also Monika too, of course, …and I thank the young film-maker James Moll for making this extraordinary movie. It was all so incomprehensible what happened at Plaszow, and at all the other concentration camps in the Nazi death camp system. You can go mad trying to understand it, because it is beyond reason or understanding. The barbaric, unspeakable sadism of Amon towards the inmates of the work camp is beyond … what can you say ? – no words can do it justice, …beyond human comprehension ? – …beyond human terror ! But there is hope in this film, that both sides can see the pain and suffering in each other, and come closer. At the end of sadness, we come together. Even if the sadness is always there. There is so much to learn in this film. It was touching to see Helen reach out and understand, and try to help Monika deal with the horror and guilt, even though Monika had nothing to do with it, except for an accident of birth, and also touching later when Monika tried to comfort Helen at the window in the basement of Amon Goeth’s villa, when she was crying and talking about watching the workers march from left to right from the window, and being terrified.
    It is in moments like these, that the film speaks volumes of the journey each of them took. Thank you so much for this…

  • Christine Szczepanczyk

    FOREIGNID: 17931
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    What an amazing story. Thankyou to the producer, but most of all my heart goes out to Helen and Monika, for their courage. My parents are Polish and they did not speak about the horrors of the German war. A deeply moving story about a tragedy we will never forget.

  • Angelsings

    FOREIGNID: 17932
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    James Moll, possibly, included the actual film footage of the hanging execution of Amon Goeth to punctuate the Karma of this man’s gruesome crimes and/or to provide ‘a pound of flesh’ or an ‘eye for an eye’ but I feel it perpetuates the intense trauma already inflicted upon the victims & survivorsof the Holocaust. Please consider deleting or editing this scene from this, otherwise, magnificent, life-altering movie.

  • Terry Proveau

    FOREIGNID: 17933
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    My wife and I were watching PBS when suddenly this documentary came on. I say suddenly because it really grabed both our attentions, and we were glued to the set for the duration.
    The honesty, tolerance and courage of both these women could and should teach the world (and thats us) how to get along.
    They both are remarkable women that must be close to the heart of God.
    I hope a lot of the worlds children see this film.

  • Joanne

    FOREIGNID: 17934
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I watched the documentary last night and was blown away. It is one of the bes programs I have ever seen. While I feel for Monika, it was helen that really touched me. How she found the courage to return to a place of unspeakble horror is beyond me. I pray that both women find some comfort and peace. Well done!! I think every perrson ont he planet should watch this program to be reminded of man’s inhumanity to man.

  • Debbie

    FOREIGNID: 17935
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    It is really inspirational how both Helen and Monicka deal with their legacies.

  • John C.

    FOREIGNID: 17936
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I agree with several of the previous posters that this documentary is a masterpiece and one of the best things ever to appear on PBS. My opinion here shouldn’t be a surprise, because I view Schindler’s List as perhaps the greatest use of film in history.
    The director’s (?) comment about how the Holocaust is often reduced to only a number . . . a statistic . . . was especially insightful.
    Thanks to everyone involved in this project.

  • Maria

    FOREIGNID: 17937
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    What an amazing film!! Something that often gets forgotten, life after war. It was good to show its lasting effects. While WWII, technically lasted about 5 years, this film shows the effects 50 years later. War is so devastating in so many aspects of life. Once humankind realizes this, we will always have children who will pass through generations the scars of this. Time does heal but there is always a war happening somewhere. This should be a film shown in the schools – along with Schindlers list to articulate the effects of war. Thank you for showing such a powerful film.

  • KJL

    FOREIGNID: 17938
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    A powerful film which I hope will be shown more widely. We felt the pain of both Moniika and Helen as though it was our own. They are both very courageous women who I hope will find peace after this confrontation. My own first thought after seeing the film was: We all take for granted that we have parents that we can respect. For someone to first face the truth that they cannot respect their parents and then to confront the truth and try to make amends requires a courage the rest of us would probably not have. And Helen had supreme courage to relive her unspeakably horrible past in the way she did, so vividly, by returning to the villa with the daughter of the perpetrator. Her compassion for Monika was something I will never forget. The problem is that neither Helen nor Monika can put these horrors behind them and get on with their lives. My heart goes out to them both, KJL

  • paula

    FOREIGNID: 17939
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    This documentary was amazing and I thank everyone involved in sharing the story. I often think about family members of people who commit horrendous crimes and how they must live with such painful memories. The courage Monika showed is only matched by the courageous life Helen lived. May they both be an inspiration to others.

  • Stephan M Pepper

    FOREIGNID: 17940
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    My parents were both incarcerated at Plaszow, my mother later being sent to Auschwitz and then Bergen-Belsen where I was born (in 1948) and my father ultimately ended up on Schindler’s list. I was never spared the stories of atrocities and inhumane treatment of man by man. When my parents and their friends socialized they always spoke of their individual experiences at the hands of sadistic guards. I know more about these experiences than I do about their childhood memories and experiences. I listened intently to Vivian’s comments because I, too, have felt the pain and anguish of the Holocaust, even though I was not there physically. Are these feelings of pain and anguish our inheritance? No one but the child of a survivor can understand what we feel. I wonder how her sister and brother reacted to her trip and do they feel the same way that she and I do? I was very moved by the program. And as for Monika? That poor woman…

  • Kathleen McKeague

    FOREIGNID: 17941
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Thought the image of Ruth lying in bed in cosmetic masques was tremendously powerful metaphor for the willful blindness man exhibits to this day.

  • EHeinrich

    FOREIGNID: 17942
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I was fortunate enough to have caught this program starting its replay in the early morning hours and was compelled to watch it upon first glance. The story these two women come together to share is amazing. Their comming together to learn and gain closure is truely inspiring. It makes me wish I knew more of my German heritage as well, even if it was to harbor some evil. Sometimes we forget about the mental and the emotional trauma associated with these evil attrocities on individuals and those around them. I was particularly saddened by those who had taken their lives due to that mental anguish. If those ladies are reading these posts, I would like to thank them for sharing their story with the rest of us and wish them all the best in reconciling their lives so they can have a mentally healthy future.

  • kim

    FOREIGNID: 17943
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I intentionally watched this moving documentary because TV Guide printed it,what i didnt know was how moving this story was.I thank the Lord that the producers and the filmmaker’s decided to do this,in an age in america where “anything that is painful” get’s put off and forgotten,Mr.Moll had the internal fortitude to do this film,which there needs to be more of them,ALL the time.I cried all the way thru.I am Jewish.I believe those two women were to be commended for their internal bravery and for both of them to share their own partucular griefs.I feel especially sad for Monika,she is NOT at fault because of her wicked,bastard,murderous father,nor the murderous,inactions of her mother.Monika needs to quit beating herself up and find the only peace which is in Christ Jesus,He alone gives peace.I also believe that it is a wicked thing for Monika’s grandma and most german’s who never told Monika the truth about not only Monika’s monstrous father,but the wickedness of her mother,and the wickedness of the german people’s as a whole! How in the name of everything that is Holy and Goood,can a nation such as germany,not TELL the german youth of postwar germany,what their own country did? Again,germany has failed purposely in not telling the postwar german children the wicked atrocities that germany not only inflicted on the Jews,but the horros’s they inflicted on other’s worldwide.Helen is a woman of great courage and strength,to actually meet the very daughter of a monster that she was a captive slave of,is truly incredible! It’s horrible what Helen had to go thru in losing all of her family in the Holocaust,and then to loose her husband to suicide,is unimaginable.Both Monika and Helen are heroe’s of mine for their bravery in going to a painful,horribly painful past,yet having the internal fortitude to go thru with it,amazing! I am so thankful i got to see this,this is the best education to receive.I can honestly say as i have watched more films thru PBS,i have gotten more of an education that will stick with me than ANY classroom i have been in! I believe it was necessary to show the hanging of that nazi monster,it really does show no remorse on his part,but i will agree with Helen,that hanging wasnt punishment enough for all his wicked crimes he did,he got off way to easy.As far as Monika’s mother killing herself,i believe that is God’s Justice catching up with her for her murderous silence and her “do nothingness” that she carried out,not to mention she stayed married to a hideous,murdering monster.I do wish that Helen and Monika peace,that are both very troubles soul’s,only Christ can give peace.I have also enjoyed the comment’s of other’s who have watched this film.My motto is,”never forget,and alway’s keep your eyes on your government” because it is your government’s that alway’s persecutes people.We here in america have committed attrocitties against the african’s by enslaving them and murdering them,almost wiping out the entire american indian race,taking the mexican’s land away from them without a right and fair price,enslaving chinese to build our railroads for literally rice and a few cents a day(slave labor)yes,america is just as filthy and wicked as the nazi’s were,and it alway’s start’s with the government,let us never forget! One last thing,hitler started experimenting and murdering german children and infant’s before he started on the Jew’s,any child that was mentally challenged or born with a physical or mental defect,were experimented on brutally and murdered as well,i seen a documentary on that as well.I believe the Holocaust was more than 6 million,that number is a guestimate,also remember when russia became a communist nation,the first people to be butchered was the Jew’s,and no,the communist’s didnt keep record account’s.As a Jew,i alway’s keep my eye’s open to what the american government is wickedly up to,because if given the chance,america would love to exterminate the Jew’s again.Remember,america KNEW what was going on in germany in the 1930′s about the camp’s and the Jew’s being exterminated in the beginning,and did NOTHING! america closed the death door’s on the Jew’s plight,as did most of the world! Yes,may us Jew’s never forget that we are the world’s target,alway’s has been and alway’s will be.NEVER AGAIN,is my oath that i live by!

  • Susan

    FOREIGNID: 17944
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Although an interesting premise, I found the documentary disturbing. I didn’t like the way Helen treated Monica. I really felt she was taking things out on Monica and after all it was Monica’s father who did all these awfull things not Monica! I had to turn it off at the end as I just couldn’t bear to watch the interaction between Helen and Monica.

  • Ray

    FOREIGNID: 17945
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I found INERITANCE such a powerful drama that I became motionless for minues afterwards, still pondering its impact nearly a day later. The scenes from Krakow brought back memories from the fall of 1987 when I led a stiudy abroad semester there for the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point.
    I wonder as I wander this Chrismas season whether the Holocaust would have ever happened if we had recognized and acknowledged the ethnicity of Jesus as Jew.

  • Carol

    FOREIGNID: 17946
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Monika extended her hand, Monika wanted to understand, and in some way to be forgiven for the sins of her father, a guilt she does not deserve to feel. I found Helen’s anger understandable, and that she finally had a target for all the rage she still feels, and who can blame her? Still, when I look at Monika’s bowed head in the follow up interview on the Inheritance website, when I recall her tears when she first talks to Helen, when she first meets Helen, I find it hard to understand Helen’s treatment of Monika. Monika came to Helen asking for something Helen was not able to give, and it is very sad that could not see the beauty in Monika’s efforts. Helen says she appreciates it, but she could not help but heap her hatred for Amon onto Monika’s bowed shoulders.
    That said, thank you both for participating in this wrenching documentary. I am grateful to be given a window into both of your personal tortures…and thanks, of course, the filmmaker.

  • Kay Blaha

    FOREIGNID: 17947
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    You may use HTML tags for style and links.
    The sad reality of Helen’s husband and Monica’s mother both committing suicide years after the war, shows the long term effects of evil to both the victim and the perpetrator. When will we learn?
    Kay B

  • andrean

    FOREIGNID: 17948
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    This is a great film.This should be one that should be shown to the school both pvt. and public. I missed the film last night and I had to look it up and see what is was about.

  • phillygirl

    FOREIGNID: 17949
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I am a Jewish woman born in the USA in 1946. As far as I know, and with great fortune, neither my mother’s nor my father’s families lost any close relatives in the Holocaust. But we lost more than a third of the Jewish people, and that it plenty to mourn. I was very moved by both women’s stories, but especially the courage and ultimate sadness of Monika to confront her past and deal with her present. While Helen suffered the most physical damage from the Holocaust, and also lost her husband to demons from the past, she has found fulfillment in the love of family and friends. Monika, on the other had, has lived with the knowledge that her father was a sadist and a butcher, and that her own mother wished her dead. There was no parental love in her life, and after meeting Helen and learning more horrible things about both of her parents she has even more sadness to contomplate and live with. It’s a very heavy burden to carry, for sure. I hope she finds a support group that will help her manage her guilt and frustration. Perhaps she will channel the difficult knowledge of her parents’ deeds to help remaining Holocaust survivors.

  • http://comcast.net Ann M.

    FOREIGNID: 17950
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I was heartbroken for Monica. Helen has support from the Jewish community and Monica has had to suffer alone. Helen did not give Monica time to explain how she was taught to view Jews as a child and then how she changed her views as an adult. Monica needed understanding from Helen’s daughter also.I love Monica and pray that she has found peace in knowing that there are people who understand her suffering and can go on and live the rest of her live at least a little proud of herself for being so brave.

  • Augustus Asselin

    FOREIGNID: 17951
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Did anyone else get the impression the Helen really disliked Monika and was just being polite, but only really wanted to get away from her? Vivian seems to have hinted at this.

  • Thomas O’Dea

    FOREIGNID: 17952
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    This was a very moving documentary. When I was a young man, I was exposed to the horrors of the holocaust through movies and books. I have never been the same again. When good men and women do nothing, evil flourishes. It must STOP!!!!!!!

  • brigitte Maier

    FOREIGNID: 17953
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I loved INHERITANCE. It is interesting to see how Helena, the Holocaust survivor, has regained her dignity. She appears as a beautiful woman, comfortable with herself and who has managed to survive her past despite the horror of it. In comparison, Monika, daughter of Amon Goeth, looks like a pitiful victim. Her guilt and trauma are palpable, my heart breaks for her, and i hope that she can truly understand, that nothing of what happened was ever her fault, nor responsibility. Helena is right when at some point she says to her daughter, “he was really selfish to have a child”. I also feel bad for Monika’s grandson who will have to know who his granddad was at some point, it won’t be easy.
    I am a fifty years old Christian (but agnostic) French woman. My grandfather was in the communist party and in the French Resistance during the war. Him and his five friends who were in the same “reseau” (team) were all arrested and sent to concentration camps in Germany, none of them came back. He was first taken to the camp of Compiegne in the north of Paris, where my grandma had the right to visit him. My mom was about five at the time. In that camp, the Jewish prisoners were kept apart and had no rights of visits or anything at all. My granddad still managed to get a note from a Jewish gentleman who asked him if he could pass it to his family. There was a nice German soldier at the door of the camp, who loved to take care of my mom while grandma went to see my grandfather, you see children were not allowed inside the camp. Grandma thought it was a good thing since the soldier gave my mom chocolate and other treats which were impossible for French citizen to get in those days, and most French children, Parisians especially, were suffering from malnutrition. The soldier explained to my grandmother that he had a farm and family in Germany and that he missed them terribly and didn’t like the war. One day, he let my mom go inside to see her dad, who held her tight in his arms and told her that he loved her and to be good. He slipped the note from the Jewish gentleman in her pocket to give to my grandma, which was an extremely risky thing to do. My grandma went to deliver the note to his family in Paris, and i will never know what was in it, i can only hope that he told his family to get out of France anyway they could. Soon after that, my grandfather was sent to the concentration camp of Sachsenhausen in the north of Germany, close to Berlin. He stayed there three years and died of tuberculosis when the Russians liberated the camp.
    Once i met an older Polish and Jewish gentleman, now living in the US, at a creative writing memoir class at NYU. By coincidence he had found himself in the camp of Sachsenhausen after he and other prisoners were forced marched out of one of the extermination camps in Poland (i cant remember which one). It was nearing the end of the war and the Russians were advancing inside Poland. I asked him how was the camp where my granddad was, and he answered “honey, it was bad, really bad”. When i was little my grandma told me the story of my granddad many times, avoiding some details. I didn’t realize that he had stayed inside that concentration camp for so long, i thought that he had died right away. When many years later my mom told me the correct fact, i remember having this vivid dream that same night, where a voice tells me in English “Brigitte, your grandfather is so alone and he is so scared.” i so wanted to know him. Everyone who did said that he was a true gentleman, loved my grandmother and his daughter very much and did not have any hesitation to enter the resistance. My grandmother continued some of their activities briefly after he went away, but after a while she got too scared for her and my mom and had to stop.
    All i have of him are those pictures where i see a handsome man with a gentle face and a cute, mischievous smile. My mom and I talked about him last time i went to see her, and i could tell that it was hard for her. We were both happy and proud to find out that his name, Felix Raymond Wodey, has been given to a small passage in Bagneux, the suburb of Paris where they lived, not far from a big avenue named Albert Petit who was a famous resistant who died during that time. i realize now that wars rarely affect just one generation, it carries over to the next one and bleeds over to the one after as well. Brigitte Maier.

  • MARIA STOEGER HELFMAN

    FOREIGNID: 17954
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    As a child of surivivor from Plaszow, ultimately Auschwitz, I have had to live with many, many tales of my father’s beatings and terrorizing with those vicious dogs by Amon Goeth. This film was unbelievable realization how cruel and inhuman Goeth was. I have relived over and over watching this unbelievable documentary. Expecially the final minutes of Goeth’s life and hanging. Incidentally, my father testified at the trial and I have a book of the entire trial which is in Polish. I would love to have someone help me translate it into English, and perhaps publish, for educational purposes and history of this inhumanity to men.

  • Jim

    FOREIGNID: 17955
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I can’t help but wonder if the phrase “Never Again” means anything at all.
    To see many of the very survivors of the Holocaust now living in Israel, treating Palestinians as though they are sub-human dogs, just as the Nazis saw the Jews during WWII… makes me question the very essence of human nature.
    Have people really forgotten? Is it a case of ignorance? Or is it just “Never Again… but only for a particular group of people”?
    This documentary was beautifully done. I applaud the courage of Helen and Monika. I only wish there could be more communication, respect and understanding… so as to prevent such atrocities from happening again and again.

  • Stan and Fran

    FOREIGNID: 17956
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    This is for JERRY EAGAN
    Monika born in 1945 is now 63 and Helen,14 or 15 during her enslavement is about 80.

  • Marcie

    FOREIGNID: 17957
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    My mom (Lory) and I knew Helen Jonas for many years during the late 60′s, 70′s and early 80′s, until she moved. She was such a lovely woman, strong and just so beautiful inside and out. We knew some of her early struggles, but did not know the extent of how she suffered. I cried as I watched this movie. I hope her courage to make this movie gives her a little peace. I will remember her in my prayers.

  • Mike

    FOREIGNID: 17958
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I have just watched this film streamed to my computer. Our local PBS channel in Tallahassee is showing Inheritance in early morning hours while they raise money in evening hours with, frankly, shows of appalling quality that have been shown many times before. So, I want to say right off how glad I am that this program is available to be seen on the www. Thank you very, very much.
    This is a very powerful show to watch and I hope it will be widely seen. It raises may questions and Helena and Monika are to be congratulated for their contributions to the film and for deepening our understanding of that awful period in the 20th century. James Moll is to be congratulated in spades for his conceptualization and production of this important film. The post-screening discussion on the PBS web site with Moll, Helena and Monika is very interesting.
    PBS and all involved with this film should be honored. Quality programming of this sort is so important for our country and the world. It is too bad that the pressures of fund-raising at our local station have banished the broadcast of this program to times in the middle of the night when it will not be as widely seen as it should be.

  • silvia neyman

    FOREIGNID: 17959
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I have been trying to watch Inheritance on the web & I keep getting the message, ” Sorry, the report you requested available in your country…..”
    Why can’t I view this? Please advise.
    Thank You

  • Gary Scott

    FOREIGNID: 17960
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    This film has somehow left me in tears, though I cannot explain exactly why. It’s such a small, intimate film that really draws you into a very powerful subject – quietly, gradually. I am very happy I took the time to view this incredible documentary, and I am very grateful to those who participated in its creation. I am also very happy that we still have PBS and this type of programming in our country.

  • Simon Kilmurry

    FOREIGNID: 17961
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Silvia:
    Due to copyright restrictions the webstream of the film is available only to computers with a US IP address.

  • Mathew Sheldon

    FOREIGNID: 17962
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I have to commend both women for their exceptional courage to confront what must have been each one’s own worst fears and phobias. But at the same time, I also have to wonder if, on the whole, if such confrontations are a good idea.
    Early on in the film, Helen says that it was very selfish of Amon Goeth to have a child, and in light of his legacy, Helen is right. But Monika says later in the film that she is not her father, and in light of this film, I believe that Monika is right.
    Why should Monika suffer because of her father’s legacy? It is true that Amon Goeth was a sick, sadistic, soceiopathic monster who enjoyed killing human beings. But Monkia had nothing to do with that nor could she change it. And her own mother, who Monika was never close to, committed suicide in 1980 because of her own guilt concerning Amon Goeth.
    The Holocost was a terrible, horrific tradegy that hopefully will never happen again. We should not forget it or try to lessen its impact on human history. But I think that we should be kinder to those who have survived and are still living. And maybe we should be kinder to those who still have to deal with the legacy of their father’s involvement in the Holocost.

  • Ted Michael Morgan

    FOREIGNID: 17963
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    .Watching the documentary a second time, I realize that much is beyond words but words are what we have. This is a fine work. Thank you for making and broadcasting it.

  • Thomas Alonzo

    FOREIGNID: 17964
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    As I write this I am still very emotionally distaught. I am 51 years old and my father fought in WWII and I learned at a very young age about the Nazis. Later in life, as a young man, I met Holocaust survivors and learned more of the atrocities against the Jews during WWII and throughout history. James Moll made a comment about aren’t there enough movies about the Holocaust? And I agree with him, ABSOLUTELY NOT! We must keep reminding people of one of the most diabolical, evil, atrocities ever commited upon one people by one government and this serves to remind everyone else who values democracy and freedom OF and freedom FROM religion. The fact of the matter, in my opinion, the Holocaust was a combination of racism and religious bigotry and an evil government who used people to cover up its own incomptence. Anti-semitism is still strong in this world. But, I fear the newer generations have no knowledge or connection with the genocide of WWII. Racists in the MIddle East continue the genocide as do racists in Germany, the U. S., the “white supremicists, KuKluxKlan and other racists.
    I applaude POV for presenting this as uncomfortable and painful it was to watch. I appreciate the experience in spite of the emotional discomfort. Sometimes people have to re-experience discomfort and at that time then does it make an impression that if this is uncomfortable for me…how on Earth can I possibly imagine the pain and suffering of the people who went through the events I just witnessed? At that time, I made the sign of the cross and thanked my God in heaven that I have never had to go through any of that and I wept bitter tears because, that could have happened to any of us and has happened to other people throughout the world. This is why it is so important for these programs to continue to be broadcast so no one ever forgets how ugly, inhumane and evil, one human being can be to another. And yes I know, I am oversimplifying it.
    This made a profound impression on me as these productions never cease to do.
    Thomas A. Alonzo
    Kansas City, Kansas

  • Daniela S.

    FOREIGNID: 17965
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    It was incredible documentary about history of human intolerance toward it’s own kind. It was heart breaking to see two women linked together by one man, the father and the perpetrator, and going through the same emotions, as the result of this man’s despicable actions.
    I was deeply touched by both of these women’s personal struggles. However, my heart went for Monika. When i saw her walking towards Helena, as they were about to meet in Poland, her posture as she was approaching her, was a portrayal of a woman, that carries entire world on her shoulders. Monika’s humble approach, and honest feelings of sorrow and terror of meeting a woman, her own father left such a terrifying impact on, was very painful to watch.
    I sympathized with Helena in every aspect of her story, and i can’t even imagine, how it must have been to live through such an ordeal. However, i felt, that she should’ve make a peace with the past for her own sake, and for the sake of her family, and embrace Monika in her arms, comfort her, and let her know, that she is nothing like her father, and she shouldn’t be suffering the consequences of her monster father’s actions. Monika was herself very embracing, and loving, but she didn’t get what she was looking for all this time, in return,… the closure. The bitterness and ability of not forgive to those that hurt us, is suffocating our soul, and make our heart as heavy as a stone. I pray for both, Monika and Helena, and i wish, that Helena will find a strength to make a Peace in her heart, and Monika would be able to find the closure she was so desperately looking for. May God bless you all.
    Daniela

  • Deb M

    FOREIGNID: 17966
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I have read other comments and I do not feel that Monika is a strong person. When Helen and Monika were together, it seems that Monika is an emotoinal mess, where Helen is a very strong person. Also the way Monika stands and talks and her whole personality, I feel is just that of a defeated person. I find that ironic because who her father was.

  • Angelsings

    FOREIGNID: 17967
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    It has been several days since I viewed this incomparable movie; it continues to resonate in my thoughts & is becomming an obsession w/me. Like an irritating grain of sand in an oyster, we need things like this film to prick our conscience & be a constant reminder of the cost & never-ending ramifications that prejudice & intolerance to one another create. People like Amon Goeth & Charles Manson may ‘get away’ with their unspeakable atrocities for a season BUT there is an ultimate price to pay for their actions. Heavenly Father sees & knows ALL. Nobody will escape His judgement & justice.

  • KY

    FOREIGNID: 17968
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    This film was an incredibly moving testament of the human spirit. Both women are to be admired for their strength – Helen, obviously, for having survived the ordeal itself, and for enduring the resulting years of inner torment. She is an amazing woman, too, for having agreed to meet with Monika, make this film and to talk about it afterward. Her memories about her life in the home of Goeth, so deep and painful, were extremely moving.
    But Monika is also a strong woman, and I take issue with the commentor who said otherwise. No one compelled her to meet with Helen or to participate in this film; she did these things of her own free will. She speaks with the youth of Germany about her personal history and her father’s involvement in the holocaust, and that effort takes an enormous amount of fortitude.
    My compliments to James Moll for making this film. His treatment of the subjects allowed the viewer to experience the pain of both women from their awkward first encounter to their abrupt farewell, without being maudlin and without the use of the more shocking photos available.
    The hanging of Goeth at the end of the film, with it’s two false starts, seemed a fitting conclusion to the story of humiliation, pain, sorrow and death, for which he was responsible.

  • Tudor Popescu

    FOREIGNID: 17969
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    This was an incredibly powerful documentary. These are profiles of such strong women. It’s so hard to imagine how difficult these experiences must be. Thank you to James Moll and to PBS for airing this. The more we all see and here these stories the better.

  • http://www.pbs.org:80/pov/blog/2008/12/whats_your_pov_about_inheritan.html Ann M.

    FOREIGNID: 17970
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    My heart went out to Monica. Helen has had the support of her Jewish community and Monica has had to suffer alone. Both women were very brave. Helen did not give Monica the chance to finish her explaniation of what she was taught to believe as a child and later to learn the truch as an adult. Monica appears to have carried the world on her shoulders. Helen has the perfect right to be angry but not at Monica herself. Helen’s daughter should have been more comforting to Monica. Sins of the father–no way.

  • Victor

    FOREIGNID: 17971
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Helen and Monica are both profoundly challenged by the events of the Holocaust, but in different ways. Helen must endure the memories of having been terrorized and brutalized, of losing her mother and boyfriend, etc. She has the support though of her community and of the larger society she lives in. On the other hand, although Monica was spared the torture that was inflicted on the Jews by her father, she has had to deal with his legacy. I can’t imagine what it has been like being utterly lied to as a child, gradually coming to understand that you are the child of a mass murderer, to learn that your father was executed and then have your mother commit suicide. In addition Monica has had to grapple with this in German society, which has been slow to come to terms with the Holocaust. Basically she was raised by Holocaust deniers and she has had to carry the enormous guilt and shame largely alone. Can anyone think this was easy? I am not interested in making a value judgment on how much they have suffered. I acknowledge them both for struggling with the truth.
    What is clear is that Helen and Monica needed and helped each other. Each was able to give and receive understanding and forgiveness – they grieved together. They have shown it is possible for Jews and Germans to engage around their terrible shared history – there is hope for reconciliation.

  • David

    FOREIGNID: 17972
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    This is an excellent movie!!

  • Angelsings

    FOREIGNID: 17973
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    This powerful movie made me, again, wonder how the stereotypically intelligent, hardworking, Christian, Germanic race of people in general could turn a deaf ear & a blind eye to the atrocities of the lunatic Hitler. What is a plausible explanation? To this day, will the Germans ever be able to live down their general pacivity to & denial of this historical event? There is a movie with Tom Crusie opening Christmas Day entitled Valkyrie. In all my education, I never knew of a plot against Hitler nor in my public schooling, did I ever learn of the Holocaust until seeing the movie The Diary of Anne Frank. Why?

  • Jorge Lallemand

    FOREIGNID: 17974
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I have been to the concentration camps in Poland and Germany.
    When I saw Schindler’s list I knew I had to go, and when I got there I confirmed my suspicions that Humanity has been a bad experiment all along.
    Watching Monika, Helen one might think that there is hope.
    But countering this against thousands who have suffered whether directly or indirectly, thousands who are suffering even as I type. It is a fact: we are a horrible experiment !

  • Pat F.

    FOREIGNID: 17975
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    An emotionally grueling, but very well-done and necessary movie. I felt terrible for both Helen and Monika. I can understand why Helen felt some nervousness of Monika, and might have found it difficult to separate her from the monster Goeth, especially if Monika physically resembled her father; but I wish there could have been complete forgiveness. However, both these women are strong, especially Helen, but only human, not saints. I salute Helen for having the sheer will to get through each day of her life in Plaszow and the memories of it in later year; and I salute Monika for having the courage to face the horror of her father’s deeds and teach her grandson that all people are equal.

  • Jack Falk

    FOREIGNID: 17976
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    A powerful and essential film. I am disgusted that Oregon Public Broadcasting relegated this film to a Sunday midnight broadcast. It deserved a far better hour to attract a wider audience.

  • Maddalena

    FOREIGNID: 17977
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    How hard it must be for Monika who has bad feelings and guilt about both of her parents to look in the mirror, see the resemblance to the monster who was her father, and to see the horror in the eyes of Helen who sees it, too. How awful to have parents you can neither love nor respect. I guess the way she survives is to look to the future in her grandchlld whom she is raising to be so different from her own parents. And, of course, what could she say to assuage Helen’s pain? Nevertheless, she put herself forward to listen and feel the guilt for the pain her father inflicted on Helen, knowing and accepting that the two could never be friends.. Both women have had suicides in their families who in the case of Helen’s husband could not live with his memories, and in the case of Monika’s mother, could not live with her failure to help the women used as slaves in her household, and who probably could also no longer rationalize loving such a monster as her husband. Both women are heroic, but I wanted to hug Monika, who came without the support of any member of her family to face one of her father’s victims and the revelations about the true horror of his character. Both women are in different ways the victims of crimes which were in no way thier faults. May God bring them peace. And, Monika, in spite of the unloving people who were your parents, you are so much the better person. You are not like them.
    There is some small feeling of righteousness in being the victim of the atrocities (having the superior claim on our sympatihies) ,but none in being a daughter of the perpetrator. My sympathies are very much with Monika also.
    May god grant both women peace.

  • Peter Adler

    FOREIGNID: 17978
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I’m a holocaust survivor and thought Inheritance was extremely moving and very well done. Also loved the City of Cranes short, the photography was excellent. Keep up the good work.

  • bmek

    FOREIGNID: 17979
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Inheritance is a very disturbing yet touching film. I watched in online and found it riveting. The film conveys an alive and powerful message.

  • http://www.acertainsustice.com Deborah van Rooyen

    FOREIGNID: 17980
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    My family is also part of this “Inheritance” – so the story of Monika and Helen rings close to my heart. But what interests me is what WASN’T told in this film. Who was Amon Goeth? What happened to him as a child to make him such a psychopathic killer in the name of a political ideology? Did Monika ever meet her paternal grandparents? Did she know any of her father’s family? Did she ever dig deeper into her father’s past? Because this behavior often swings from generation to generation-like a birth mark. I work as an International investigator and much of my work involves bringing families back together after horrific traumas. I think Monika and Helen are remarkable because they live on both sides of the universe – a private club we call “survivors”-the See and the Saw which creates a delicate balance of good and evil which can flip at any time.
    The Hebrew memoir “Yonah al Chut Til” I wrote published by Yad Vashem in Israel in 2007, will be printed in English in the Spring 2009 under the title “DOVE ON A BARBED WIRE” Perhaps Monika will read it. The story of Yonah might help her find some peace.

  • Lynne

    FOREIGNID: 17981
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I was captivated by the revisiting of pain together by Monika and Helen. It brought back to my heart and mind my first realization of the horror of that time… I was born in 1955, and as a 16 year old non-Jewish young teen, I worked at a customer service desk at a Jewish owned family jewelry and up-scale department store in upstate New York. An elderly Jewish man worked the service counter more or less as our supervisor… Henry. I can’t remember his last name, but then I don’t know that we ever knew it. We only knew Henry was as sweet and gentle as a kitten, and about as talkative as a fence post. He had a heavy german accent, always wore gray pants, a maroon blazer, a fresh starched white shirt and an impeccable tie. And he physically shook like a man in an uncontrolled fit of palsy. His hands would shake so bad, he couldn’t be depended on to use the tape or stapler… or even write well. One evening… the evening of my realization that the holocaust was more than black and white pictures and endlessly boring facts in text books… I asked Henry, “Henry, why do you shake so much?” It was the most I ever heard him talk. He talked, and talked and talked. He told me about his being in a concentration camp as a young man, and hearing screams from Jews in the gas chambers. He told me how he shook because every morning, they (the Nazi concentration camp generals) would line all the Jews up and make them count off… 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4 all the way down the line. And after the count they would roll a dice, and if the number was even, all the even numbers got shot. On the spot. And if the number was odd, all the odd numbers got shot. On the spot. He told me how day after day, he stood while the two Jews beside him crumpled at his feet. And he said one day it happened, he started shaking like that. And could never stop, not even after the remaining survivors were rescued.
    That was the day, in 1970, that I came face to face with my own understanding on a very human level of the horrific trauma these people had been through. I’d long forgotten that feeling of mixed sadness, disbelief, anger, unimaginable pain in my own heart that anyone could treat another person, let alone thousands, let alone tens of thousands, in such a way, for so long, and for so long unchallenged.
    This documentary was a mixed blessing. The wounds of those who lived through it on all sides will forever be with them, and will long be carried in whatever lesser degree by those who were victimized on both sides simply by virtue of having an emotional connection with the victims.
    This must NEVER happen again, and yet… it does. The killing fields don’t seem to go away, they just move across borders.
    God bless this mess.

  • Dee Allen

    FOREIGNID: 17982
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    The mix of fragility and bravery on the parts of both Monika and Helen was gripping. Despite dramatically different origins and effects, the pain each experienced in the past and to this day vibrates throughout their exchange.
    I admire Helen for her willingness to retraumatize herself through exposure to the camp and the villa in which she lived in terror of Monika’s father Amon Goeth. And I admire Monika for her willingness to wade into her father’s ugly past–fully aware that she is the very offspring of a man of such immense cruelty. Only once did she lean hopefully toward denial by framing some of the killings as necessary because of illness (something she’d been told growing up). Faced with Helen’s immediate and uncompromising refutation, Monika had no choice but to abandon the idea. When someone looks you in the face and says, “Your father was a monster,” there can be no escape.
    I view the Holocaust as unlike many other mass displays of human injustice and murder. I don’t think the Holocaust lends itself to reconciliation on a large scale or within an individual psyche. “Therapy,” as we know it, in my opinion, is not appropriate to the extent it aims to ‘overcome’ one’s past. The events and pain are melded into Holocaust survivors like ink spilled onto a blotter; there’s no chance of being coaxed apart. When people say, “Oh, get over it. That was then, this is now. That was another generation, another time; and you’re another person now etc. etc.”, I cringe at the apparent ignorance. Often, I think, it’s the people nudging this perspective who themselves who can’t handle the issue and want it to go away; otherwise they’re forced to grasp the implications and accompanying despair.
    The most productive path, it would seem to me, is to incorporate the knowledge and experience into one’s consciousness/life in ways that interfere as little as possible with day to day functioning and that educate others about intolerance in extremis. This appears to be what Monica is doing: a full embrace of the topic in the form of inquiry and action.
    Besides being caught–as millions of ‘sane’ people were–in the Nazi ideological grip of prejudice, projection, and scapegoating, Amon Goeth had to have been largely the product of his upbringing and–who knows?–perhaps some organic brain dysfunction. The concentric circles of influence of both his immediate caregivers and his culture must have been a recipe for a psychopath. I hope Monika will keep looking into his childhood–not as an excuse for his actions, but to get a clearer picture of how his mind might have become so deranged. To her credit, she is trying to give to her grandson what she senses her father, no doubt, was denied.
    As part of that investigation, the work of Dr. Park Dietz might be useful, specifically his interview with “The Ice Man.” Dr. Dietz is a renowned forensic psychiatrist, and “The Ice Man” was the moniker of Richard Kuklinski, a Mafia hit man who claimed to have murdered over 100 people. (His name apparently was derived from his inability to feel anything.) In the interview Dr. Dietz reviews out loud Kuklinski’s childhood and at one point tells the man directly, “You didn’t stand a chance.”
    People talk about choice, which I largely subscribe to, but in some extreme cases where the mind has become so twisted, and empathy obliterated, can there really be much? Not an excuse, just a question.
    I think what Monika is doing through the making of the film and in other ways highlighted on the PBS site, is a productive incorporation of her background into her modern life. With quivering shame she has pulled her family history into the glare of the present–and I for one am overcome with admiration for her nerve and unflinching search for the truth.

  • Lynda

    FOREIGNID: 17983
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I watched this POV presentation 2 nights ago, and I am still very moved about what I saw. I started crying when I first realized the two women would meet face to face, and was still crying when the program ended.
    I wanted to learn more, so I have been searching on the WWW for any and all information about Amon Goeth’s life. I wanted to learn as much as I could about this man. What I found was that he was so cruel.
    Helen even asked Monika “Why was he so mean?” It was very emotional.
    Unfortunately, both Monika and Helen are victims. Victims because of different circumstances, but victims none the less.
    I shall never forget this incredible story.

  • Victor

    FOREIGNID: 17984
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I just watched “Inheritance” online and was very moved. The holocaust continues to be an important subject of study in my life. Although neither I nor my parents were directly touched by it, I did have relatives who were lost and I had many Jewish friends growing up who were more intimately affected. Perhaps this helps explain my own deep feelings about these events which sometimes feel so personal. Generally I go along living in the present where life’s challenges are comparatively easy, but occasionally something – like this documentary – motivates me to look back at the holocaust and I am shocked and astonished anew. I have to stop and acknowledge that this virtually unbelievable thing really did happen and must be believed, even as my mind recoils in disbelief. When I think about it I am reminded of what another holocaust survivor said about his time in Buchenwald concentration camp:
    “There is no truth about the inhuman, at any rate not on our side, among us as mortal men. Such truth can only exist for our Lord Jesus Christ, absorbed and preserved by him in the name of his Father and ours.” *1
    Each of us can only grasp the holocaust in bits and pieces, as our hearts and minds will allow. And yet this effort to acknowledge it for what it is, to resist the natural impulse to turn away, is very important. I believe that every person can make a contribution to the Good, one small, compassionate act at a time. In this way, in time and across many generations, the harm will eventually be undone.
    My grateful thanks go out to Helen, Monica and all who were involved in making this film. It shows us nothing less then the way forward.
    *1. Quote from “And There Was Light” Chapter 14, by Jacques Lusseyran. ISBN 0-930407-40-7

  • Clara Paulino

    FOREIGNID: 17985
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    To the filmmaker, to Monika and to Helen,
    Thank you for such a powerful, heart-wrenching sharing of truth. History is really this: the weaving of personal decisions, actions and heritage. While watching the film and for a while afterwards I was submerged under waves of emotion I could barely see through. I am neither the child of war victim nor the child of a war criminal, yet I found myself in both Helen and Monika. I cried with and for each of them. An then, running the risk of sounding cliche, I found myself hoping that these heroic women may one day take the final step and forgive – which is not the same as forget. Helen is right: the memory of the horrors must be kept alive and be retold, again and again, and again. Human memory is so fragile, impulses sometimes so destructive. My hope is that Monika can forgive herself for being Amon’s daughter, for Ruth’s suicide, for everything else she carries on her shoulders; and that Helen can forgive Monika for reminding her too much of her torturer. If the cycle of hurt and grievance can be broken between them, perhaps there is hope for the rest of us.

  • Kathy Fincher

    FOREIGNID: 17986
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    My heart breaks for these two women and the many others like them. How brave of Monika and Helen to meet and somewhat discuss the things this murderer was responsiblefor. It was very powerful for me and took great courage. I hope each of them were able to take someting positive away from their meeting and put at least some of their demons to rest.

  • Maddalena

    FOREIGNID: 17987
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I don’t think Monika has anything to apologize for. She certainly cannot be blamed for the accident of genetics that made her the daugher of Amon Goeth. She is laying herself open to blame for which she has no fault. She was a baby, for heaven’s sake!. It’s almost like she is a sacrificial victim. I suppose I understand why she is doing this, her attempt to do something to atone for the sins of her parents, and that is admirable, but it is so heartbreaking to see her take verbal blow after verbal blow from those who see her father in her. It is time for those who have been the victims of a lack of compassion to have a little and stop thinking that because they don’t have the father to berate, they can do it through his blameless daughter. She has enough to bear just being who she is, and I think she is very brave to face her background and try to raise her beautiful grandson to be a far better person. She seems well-adjusted except for the slump to her shoulders as though she always has to apologize for being. She does not. All she can do with such a past is look to the future represented by her little David. The sins committed by her father are beyond her ability to comfort. There is no comfort within human capabability for such horrors. Helen may be the righteous injured party, but Monika is hardly unrighteous; she, rather than injuring, almost seems to be looking to be hurt to atone for the sins of her parents. May God bless her and give the surviviors of her father’s cruelty peace and yes, in the midst of their horrid memories, compassion for those who were blameless and yet feel somehow at fault and try to atone for sins they did not commit.

  • diane

    FOREIGNID: 17988
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Thank you for making this film and for letting us into a very personal journey that both women went through. I hope more survivors come forward and tell their stories so that it will never be forgotten or repeated.

  • Jaylah

    FOREIGNID: 17989
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Both of these women, Helen and Monika, have shown such strength and determination in their lives. They are both truly amazing women.
    I do not mean to denigrate Helen’s strength, nor her suffering. Her pain, even know, is very real and very evident. But she has had half a decade to come to grips with her past.
    Monika, on the other hand, was only now finding out the truth about the people whose DNA she shared, and having to do so with a camera recording it all. I just wanted to reach into my television and pull Monika into the room with me so I could tell her, “Monika, you are not your father! You could never be. When Helen found things difficult to talk about and began crying, you went to her and attempted to comfort her. Amon Goeth not only would not have done that, but he also could not have done that. The human trait of empathy just was not in him. Amon Goeth’s DNA may be in you, Monika, but you are not his daughter. You have not lived like him, and you will not die like him. You are such a kind and gentle woman you deserved parents that loved you. Not Amon with his murderous ways, nor Ruth with her callous, blind eyes. Monika, you are a good woman.”
    I truly wish the absolute best for these two women and their families, and I thank them for sharing a very painful experience with us. We need to hear and see their stories and others like them, lest we ever forget.

  • Maddalena

    FOREIGNID: 17990
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    You know, though, the longer I think about it, I do understand Monika’s wish to connect with her father’s victims and hear their stories and give what comfort she can. I just hope it doesn’t take too much of a toll on her. I remember when I visited Dachau Concentration Camp having that same feeling: that somehow you need to do something for the dead. Of course, there is nothing you can do, but pray for their souls.. Monika as the daughter of one of the perpetrators is in a unique position to do something for their living survivors and she feels compelled to do it. That alone shows that she is in no way like her father. May God bless and comfort her for the sad knowledge of his horrible deeds to which she is now being exposed. I do hope Monika stops and takes care of herself if the toll becomes too much to bear.

  • Steven Surprenant

    FOREIGNID: 17991
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Thanks to the filmmaker for an incredibly wonderful account of the survivors of the Holocaust. Watching this made me see the “rest of the story” after Schindler’s List. The survivors were not all Jewish – to a certain extent Monika has had to survive the horrific truth of her past as well. My thanks doesn’t begin to describe how I feel toward both Helen and Monika – two very brave women who have chosen to speak out, and in a sense, reverse the evil of Amon’s atrocities. Thankfully, the story of the Holocaust doesn’t end with evil deeds but is being played out today by the heroic and very humane actions of Helen and Monika.

  • jennifer

    FOREIGNID: 17992
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Thank you to James Moll for creating this film and for everyone who made it possible. Of course I remember Helen from Schindler’s List, and it is encouraging to see how she has been able to carry on after everything that she endured – she exudes strength and hope. I find it interesting, though, to identify more with Monika. Though I am Jewish and have always felt the pain of Holocaust victims from the first time I heard about what happened, my own father was to some a hero and to others a criminal who caused pain to many people. He died when I was thirteen – the circumstances of that, too, are in question – so I cannot ask him directly anything. And though his wife is still alive and stood by his side while he was engaging in criminal activity, I cannot talk to her about it either. My younger sister was only five when he died, and now that we are both adults, we often find ourselves asking each other just how much of him is in us and do we have his character? One reaction that we have both had is that we are completely intolerant of criminal behavior and anti-everything we think that he did that was wrong but give credit to having his sense of persistence and creativity. Thus we hope that we have taken the traits that can be used for good or evil and though he may have used them for evil, we have chosen to use them for good. So I think that Monika is going through something similar. She is clearly not responsible for the sins of her father, but she has the opportunity and the obligation to use her knowledge of what he did, the guilt her grandmother instilled in her for that, and her willingness to counter that evil of Amon and turn it around into something great. She can tell her story firsthand. And I think the very opening line is the key – that every father who is in a war must think about his children when he is doing what he is doing. That one line, and that one thought is so relevant and powerful and that is the message she needs to shout from the rooftops. Thank you Monika for exposing yourself to us. I am sorry that your father was who he was. But maybe you were born for this very task and you can save countless thousands of others with your message. And your grandson can continue with that and you can leave a much greater legacy behind.

  • History Informs

    FOREIGNID: 17993
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    When victims empathize with the suffering of their abusers, or with the family of such, healing can occur and forgiveness. It seemed both parties let this process work pretty well, but when fear gripped Helen, she shut Monika down from telling her truth, which was ungracious and probably fairly average for such an extreme situation. I hope the film maker or someone took some responsibility and anticipated some of these outcomes and tried to help shape events by informing parties how others have trod these paths before them. We tend to operate out of a hierarchy of moral entitlement for political ends, but on a human level suffering cannot be so easily ranked to give moral advantage to one party or another, nor should it be. There are of course far too many holocaust films because so many add little insight, but this one wasn’t a case of adding just another since it dealt with healing and reconciliation. Although messy and uncomfortable, it’s a good process to witness. In fact, these are lessons that can be applied to our own lives where we need healing and reconciliation.

  • Chip Whittingham

    FOREIGNID: 17994
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I’ve seen many films on the Holocaust, mostly thanks to PBS.
    I’ve recently come to realize that, in a sense, I’m a Holocaust denier. I’ve refused to accept that I live in a world where the Holocaust is possible. I’ve read about it, seen it on my TV screen, but no, human beings cannot be capable of doing such things.
    Tell me how. How are we capable of this?

  • Shiva

    FOREIGNID: 17995
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I was deeply moved by this film. I FINALLY heard, through Monika’s words, how Nazis explained/justified killings to their children. Her honesty and naivete, as much as they angered Helen (and me, while I was watching), were touching. You rarely see someone expose their ignorance so openly. I was touched by the strength of both women. I learned a great deal.
    “Never again” should apply to all the people of the world. But this is happening right now in Africa, and no one seems to care. And the way that Israel treats Palestinians is highly ironic. It’s like the Israelis don’t realize that they’re the winners and that it’s time to be gracious winners.

  • Robert F. Holden

    FOREIGNID: 17996
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    A very moving film. The burden that Monika carries with her is so very obvious. I was wondering what happened to her own daughter as we hear that she was overtaken by drug addiction, and so Monika had to take care of her grandson. Was the burden of knowing that Amon Goeth was her grandfather too much for her to bear? I found it interesting that little was said about Monika’s daughter and what she came to know.
    I have taught Holocaust Studies for many years. I have been to Krakow and Plaszow and Aushwitz, but this film really made my journey to Poland complete. To watch Helen and see her in such great pain as she visited both the site of the camp and the Villa was so absolutely powerful. THIS is the film which should be viewed by ALL after watching Schindler’s List! It brings the story full circle and reveals the pain that is transferred to the next generation of both perpetrators and survivors. Their children will always feel the pain of their parents.
    I congratulate the producers/director of this monumental work. As Mr. Moll said, despite all of the films made about the Holocaust, so few make this sad chapter of history so real as when we watch those greatly and profoundly affected by those horrible events.
    I remember the words of a Holocaust professor from Yad Vashem, Shulamit Ember (sp?) who once told me and a group of fellow American Holocaust educators which she was instructing at Stockton College in New Jersey, “Don’t just talk about the 6 million; start with the story of one.” Make sure that your students always know that there are millions of individual accounts and as you teach the Holocaust, make sure your students know the stories of at least a few of those individuals. It is a lesson I have never forgotten, and as I continue to teach about the Holocaust, I always try to bring survivors into my classroom to speak to my students. They must hear these stories directly from the mouths of one who experienced it. Sadly, soon there will be no more survivors; only their stories on tape and DVD. Still, they must be shared.
    This film, Inheritance, moved me tremendously and I thank PBS for making it possible.

  • Taylor Fischer

    FOREIGNID: 17997
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    Both women have been seriously wounded and are in pain. But, Helen behavior toward Monika in not even allowing her to explain how she obtained her information help me better understand how Israel courld react to Plalestine in the manner in which they do.

  • Anonymous

    FOREIGNID: 17998
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    This documentary truly shows how suffering can be transmitted collaterally. My family (I live in the USA) is comprised of Dutch and Germans. Some of my Dutch family members resisted their Nazi occupiers during World War II — some of them even hid Jews in their home — and some were executed; some of my German relatives were Nazis (actual party members). I was born in 1966 and still I am haunted by my connection to this time. I was 20 years old when I first visited Germany and was terrified. Later, I spent some time there as a student which was a much more positive experience. We must share our pain and our stories in order to heal the world.

  • Lauren

    FOREIGNID: 17999
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    Inheritance was heartbreakingly moving and soul-wrenching. One question – what happened to the other woman who was also enslaved as a maid by Goeth? And a comment on the comments: I too, as some of you have inferred, wanted that nice comforting “ending” of Helen embracing Monika to assuage the latter’s pain and unwarranted shame, but I totally understood, that for her own sake, Helen could not and would not take on that role. I believed Helen was empathetic and validating of Monika’s anguish and filial burden, but, as she herself indicated, she had to place a boundary around those feelings to be free to fully countenance her own harrowing and monstrous experience. So few among us can even begin to fathom Helen’s immeasurable and endless losses – childhood, parents, siblings, friends, husband, home, innocence, freedom, dignity, and sense of safety, justice and belief in humanity – to name a few. How could anyone ever begrudge her the opportunity to give voice to her own truth and find peace and closure in whatever way she can? Healing for Monika – which she so richly and truly deserves – needs to come from other sources. Neither should be denied their truth at the expense of the other’s.

  • MartinB

    FOREIGNID: 18000
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    I was very moved by this documentary and by the courage of Helen and Monika. If I were Ruth, I’d vigorously avoid the memories and the horrors of the camp. Even being in the same room as Goth’s daughter – as innocent as she may be – would be unbearable.
    But Ruth wants to educate young people about the Holocaust. She wants to bear witness and to present the truth of her experience.
    We can say “Never again” but recent history attests that atrocities and genocide are easily committed and justified by their perpetrators. As long as people believe they can deny others their basic rights as human beings -because of their religion, ethnicity, nationality or sexual orientation, et al – history will repeat itself. We need to face this sad reality.
    By taking this action, we honor the bravery and courage of Ruth. We also affirm Monika who sought to learn the truth about her parents and to understand the consequence of her father’s brutality.

  • john snelgrove

    FOREIGNID: 18001
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    I was so very sorry to hear Helen’s story. It’s a sad irony that Helen lived through the terror of that terrible time and yet Monika will have to live with knowledge of her father’s crimes for the rest of her life. Two very strong women! How many of us could meet their past in such a brave way!

  • Heidi Lasher-Oakes

    FOREIGNID: 18002
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    I just saw Inheritance. I was, am, so moved that I can’t think exactly what to say. I have the greatest admiration and respect for Helena and Monika, for their drive both to remember and to move forward. Thanks to them and to James Moll for making the film. I think that I will be thinking about it for some time to come.

  • Annette

    FOREIGNID: 18003
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    Hi, my name is Annette, and I was just flicking through channels on the TV and ran across this docementary. I sat in amazment as I watched the hurt and continous pain that Helen felt. Although Monika felt the pain, she wasn’t there to witness what Helen had gone through. I actually sat and cried with Helen and wanted to reach out to her and give her a hug. As far as her daughter, hearing her say how people was telling her that she wasn’t in the holocaust, and in other words she shouldn’t feel the pain. I live in Washington, DC and have not yet visited the Holocaust Museum because I think I have a fear. I stronglly feel for Helen and wish I could speak with her in person to hear more of her story, and to let her know that our ancestors went through some of the same ordeals. There is always a story to be told and I love the history of it all. To you Helen, stay strong.

  • Joe

    FOREIGNID: 18004
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    Very Good & Essential Documentary from both Ladies & the Work behind this Film. I was Amazed @ the Strength, Intelligence & Courage from Helen. God Surely has his hand on this Lady. This needs to be made into a Movie for all the world to see. Joe, danville ky.

  • Rochelle M

    FOREIGNID: 18005
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    It is pretty terrible at the emotional expense of Monika and Helen. I think anyone intellectual should read Maus which explains a holocaust survivors experience. Also I wish Monica could explain her views before she was interrupted. Does anyone feel disturbed at America concentration camps are now a shoppin mall called Tanforan?

  • Vesela Kopa

    FOREIGNID: 18006
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    This is an amazing documentary. It broke my heart, and it gave me hope. My tears were uncontrollable, but the experience gave me a cathartic, emotional cleansing that was much needed. Thank you James Moll, Monika and Helen for sharing your stories. Let us never forget.

  • JenG

    FOREIGNID: 18007
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    Thank you for streaming this film. I was struck by Monica’s statement that she had trouble forgiving the children of perpetrators, such as her neighbor, the daughter of Herman Goering. I know she is on a journey of self-acceptance through her brave participation in this film The strength, dignity and grace of Helen is so great, I am honored she shared it with us all.
    I hope “we must never forget” isn’t the only thing people take from films such as these, however. Our country is just emerging (I hope) from a very dark time of touture (yes, with dogs), secret prisons, the absence of law, and targeting people because of their beliefs and/or appearance. The magnitude is different, but are we confronting our own horrors in a way that honors our knowledge of the Holocaust? Do we turn a blind eye for our own reasons as the German people did?

  • Mary

    FOREIGNID: 18008
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    This is certainly one of the most powerful films about the Holocaust that I have seen. I am deeply grateful to Helen, Monika, and James Moll for their courage and sensitivity in sharing this story with us. They have deeply touched me, and I will never forget what they have done for us.
    It has become fashionable to question whether or not we need more films about the Holocaust (just yesterday on NPR, for instance, in connection with “The Reader” and Holocaust representations being cynically deployed to win Academy Awards). This film is prime evidence that we do. What we don’t need are more emotionally dishonest sentimentalizations of suffering (which even Spielberg’s “Shindler’s List” indulged in, in my opinion) and fetishizations of Nazi crimes. In some ways, what we lack in the broader culture is exactly what this film provides – emotional and historical honesty and integrity.
    I’m reminded of a PBS documentary shown a few years ago, “Hiding and Seeking: Faith and Tolerance after the Holocaust,” in which the son of Holocaust survivors, married to a survivor’s daughter goes back to Poland to find the Polish peasants who saved his wife’s father and uncle (The PBS site is here: http://www.pbs.org/pov/pov2005/hidingandseeking/about.html). He encounters Polish high-school students who know very little about the history of the annihiliation of the Jews of their community. Is Polish culture still anti-Semetic? The film powerfully questions the idea of collective guilt and explores the possibility of reconciliation, though a notion of shared humanity and a recognition of a shared capacity for hatred and intolerance, generosity and mercy.
    The rebuilding of Germany, Austria and Poland (not to mention the Soviety Union) after the Holocaust was acheived at a terrible price by all too often drawing a veil of silence and and supression between perpetrators and their children and grandchildren. Monika’s story is unique only because of her father’s notoriety and the number of his crimes. Monika has done an invaluable service in making her story known (as has Helen, of course), but the process of educating the post-war generations and reconciling with intimate family histories is far from done.
    The progeny of perpetrators carry no inherited guilt, but they have an ethical obligation to no longer perpetuate the climate of willfull blindness, ignorance, and prejudice in which those crimes were commited, no matter how painful such an obligation may be. They have an obligation to the truth. Monika humbles us all by the example of her courage in fulfilling that human obligation.

  • Mim Grace

    FOREIGNID: 18009
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    Thank you, Helen, for speaking your rage about the atrocities against the Jews. I am Jewish: you spoke for me and helped me to express my rage as well, for all the family I lost in the Holocaust. May your heart come to peace.

  • Mary Solomon

    FOREIGNID: 18010
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    The following contains a quote that, for some reason, I am not able to pin point the source.
    Here is the full quote: Helen was extremely reluctant to meet Monika. Understandably, she felt conflicted about returning to the villa for the first time and meeting the daughter of a man who caused such an infinite amount of pain in her life. In an unscheduled on-camera interview after their meeting, I learned of a secret Helen had carried for years, giving greater perspective in understanding her trepidation in meeting Monika. But in the end, Helen told me her responsibility as a parent and grandparent persuaded her to accept Monika’s invitation to meet, for the first time, at the Plaszow Concentration Camp.
    Mr. Moll states – I learned of a secret Helen had carried for years – My question is – what was that secret and when was it divulged?
    Thank you.
    Mary

  • Robert Butler

    FOREIGNID: 18011
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    I just watched this amazing story and wanted to say thanks to all who took part to air it. I’m especially proud of Monika to try and see past her family history to the truth. To Helen, thank you for being a kind and sharing spirit, and not letting any of us forget that a terrible thing happened in the history of this world, and there are witnesses to tell the tales.

  • Manny Baker

    FOREIGNID: 18012
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    This was a very powerful and emotional documentary. It must have been extremely hard for Helen Jonas to agree to meet with Monika Hertwig, and to relive her experiences in Plaszow. And in the case of Monika Hertwig, what struck me most of all was a sense that Monika felt an overwhelming sense of shame when she first met Helen.
    No one can begin to imagine the horror that the prisoners in the concentration camps must have experienced. You have only a small sense it in some of the scenes where Helen relives her experiences in both the camp and in the villa. It was an incredibly well done documentary.

  • Roy

    FOREIGNID: 18013
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    Yes “Inheritance” is a noble effort but, in the greater scheme of history largely a waste. I was born in 1924 and in 84 years I’ve seen it all –from Germany to Poland to Russia with several camps between. I observe that evil, anti-Sematism , intolerance and stupidity are alive and well — and thriving in the USA. The mantra “Never Again” a cynical joke..We’re well on the way to a repeat.

  • Mary

    FOREIGNID: 18014
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    Roy, above at 1:24 a.m, I can understand your cynicism, and share your outrage. But Helen and Monika’s effort is not wasted if it touches even one life, and inspires the courage to resist evil. Perhaps genocidal and criminal behavior will always be with us, if it is in fact an unchangeable part of human nature. But the will to stand up and say “no” is also part of human nature, and may even be effective at times. Perhaps the idea is to do what one can, inspired by the example of others and one’s own conscience, not becuase one imagines that good will triumph over evil, but because one is compelled to by the dictates of human dignity and worth.

  • Kathy

    FOREIGNID: 18015
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    Thank you to all who were involved in this documentary. I, too, grew up only understanding that there were 6 million jews killed. It wasn’t until I visited Germany this summer or saw this documentary that I truly understood the impact and the enormity of what happened during this time in history. My heart goes out to Helen and Monika and their families for the impact this brutality has had on them, as well as the many victims who died at the camp.

  • Stephanie Holowka

    FOREIGNID: 18016
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    I happened to watch this documentary late last night. I was very touched and impressed by both Helen and Monika. I think they were absolutely courageous in both talking to each other and allowing the public to see their story. Helen’s story and Monika’s attempting to understand the person of her father gives a very human face to the horror of the Holocaust. It needs to be understood by all. I would like to say thank you to both of them. They have made an impression and touched my life. Thank you too to James Moll. This story deserved to be shared.

  • Linda Snipes

    FOREIGNID: 18017
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    Many years ago my husband and I along with our two daughters visited a Nazi concentration camp near Munich. It was an overwhelming experience. All of the visitors were extremely reverent-speaking in hushed whispers. We knew we were on sacred ground.
    I can not begin to imagine how Helen felt returning to such a place where she survived so much horror and loss. She is a testimony to the human spirit.
    As for Monica, I applaud her courage and strength of character. She is living proof that we do not have to perpetuate the “sins of our fathers.”
    I am grateful that these two courageous ladies decided to meet and share their story with us all. We are all better for it.

  • Dee

    FOREIGNID: 18018
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    What a very interesting story. And even tho I am 47 yrs old, I feel like I learned even more about the tragedy. History books just don’t cut it like a real story.

  • Gregory A Hall

    FOREIGNID: 18019
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    Pbs P.O.V.
    I am full of thoughts and emotion after viewing, P.OV’s “Inheritance”
    My overall first need is to express how much I admire the brilliant documentary,
    by James Moll. What a unique story he directed.
    His filming and staging of Helen and Monika, was in a work original and
    a work of art.
    Then I want to thank Helen and Monika for participating in “Inheritance”
    and sharing their history with history.
    Helen and Monika are two of the bravest women I have ever seen.
    Both of them are a tribute to women, the world over, and I am
    a senior male, saying this.
    The “Final Solution” of Nazi Germany, for the Jews became known to
    me at about age 13, and I had an obsession about the holocaust , for decades.
    I saw every film and read every book I could locate, about the holocaust.
    I was trying to find out how such acts of evil and savagery could have
    happened? It was beyond my imagination, to understand or comprehend.
    During my quest to understand, I learned to love Jewish People and
    a became a staunch supporter of modern Israel.
    I can recall telling my younger sister, that I thought we probably had
    Jewish Ancestors, and she agreed. I just thought that, and am unable
    to explain logical reason, for my attitude.
    I as just 12 yrs. old when I began to think, I had Jewish Ancestors. And I
    was reared in the American South, as a devout Christian.
    After I was grown, I learned my Grandfather Schwart’s family came
    from Bavaria, which was a great center for affluent Jews. My grandfather
    was probably the first American born generation of his family, as he had
    relatives that never learned to speak English.
    The inheritance of Helen and Monika documentary brought tears to my
    eyes, and it is most difficult for me to cry, always has been.
    As a young man, I foolishly thought the world would never see
    genocide be a reality.
    Then I saw Bosnia, Africa,Iraq, Yugoslavia, commit genocide on different
    ethnic groups, I realized that the first step to genocide, was to “DEHUMANIZE”
    a group of people, propagandize these ethnic groups widely, and then
    do the crime.
    I thought that what happened in German, could just as easily happen
    in America, by the time I was a young teenager.
    I can understand the distaste for individuals who make career out
    of being an ethnic group, and thus feel allowed it is permissable to
    be totally irresponsible about joining hands with basic humanity.
    I was reared in a conservative Republican household, and was proud
    to be a Republican.
    The man who delivered the the keynote address, in Houston, Pat (somebody},
    when George Herbert Bush was seeking his second term as President,
    made certain statements that elements of American were beneath
    consideration, I jumped out of my bed with the thought, “MY God, this is
    how Nazi Germany started on the Jews”
    The very next morning I ran out, registered as a Democrat, voted for
    William Jefferson Clinton, and will be a JUNK YARD DOG democrat,
    the rest of my life.
    Along the journey of my life, I dropped all religious affiliation. I don’t
    care if people worship “Golden Calves” and know just how right
    America’s Founding Fathers were to separate Church from STATE.
    All we have to do is look at Iraq and India to see the horror, persons
    of different religions have brought on one another, for all of history.
    Not to forget the horror of the “Crusades”, where the wonderful
    Crusaders, captured, roasted, and ate, the children of Muslims.
    “Inheritance” brought the horror of human genocide to my eyes and mind,
    much more than “Schindler’s LIst”, and I wanted to see Lian Neeson
    wing the Academy Award for Best Leading Man, in a drama.
    Not to mention the brilliant acting performance of Ralph Fiennes.
    And then to see “Inheritance” and hear from persons who knew both
    men. Powerful , Honest, Real, and a blessing is “INHERITANCE’.
    Thanking POV, PBS, director James Moll,
    and HELEN and MONIKA, for bringing this history to the world’s notice,
    Gregory A. Hall

  • Anonymous

    FOREIGNID: 18020
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    I have seen Schindler’s List only once. It is too painful to watch again. Two weeks ago I asked my husband to set an alarm for me so I could watch “Inheritance” on Tuesday, December 16, 2008 and I watched it – in horror and through tears. This evening, Wednesday, December 17, 2008, I ran to the TV to watch this documentary again. I cried harder. I said aloud all the personal tragedies Helen shared with us and I can’t believe she is still alive.
    I want to know more about her survival; from her inner dwelling to her outward structure as a splendid, strong person. How in the world has she been able to forge ahead with such power?
    Helen, you’re an anomaly. Please keep on your journey. I’ll be waiting to hear more from you.
    Thank you all for producing such a meaningful and absorbing film.

  • Donna D

    FOREIGNID: 18021
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    This is a very powerful piece; almost like a prayer. A prayer for enlightenment and forgiveness. Yes, we are our father’s children but
    we are not responsible for their actions. Monika is still carrying the guilt of Amon and trying to come to terms with Ruth, who probably hurt her more than anyone. Ruth turned her eyes because the good life was more important to her than the lives of Helen and all the other jews who perished at Amon’s hands. Helen was full of anger and pain yet without any sense of revenge.Throughout the film both women realize that they cannot change the past and that they each have to live in their future. Brave beyond anything I have ever seen in real life. These women show us the power of love and forgiveness deep within the human heart. God bless them both.

  • Emily H

    FOREIGNID: 18022
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    I watched “Inheritance” the first night is was broadcast and was moved beyond words. This was a very powerful documentary and very real, no fake emotions from either Helen or Monika. I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for both of these women to meet and agree to talk about the past and how it shaped their lives. Thank you to both Helen and Monika for being so brave and letting so many of us see how past events continue to resonate for the rest of someone’s life.
    I’ve read many of the comments here and one thing I notice is that many posters think that Helen Jonas was the person portrayed in Schindler’s List as Goeth’s maid. In fact, there were two Helens who served as Goeth’s maids, a fact that Helen Jonas herself speaks to early on in this film. The person who was depicted in Schindler’s List was named Helen Hirsch, and she does not look like Helen Jonas at all. Helen Jonas mentioned that when she arrived at Goeth’s mansion, he told her that “he already had a Helen, so her new name would be Susana”. There is a documentary from around 1994 called “Schindler’s List- the True Story” in which many of the Jewish people whom Schindler saved are interviewed. One of them was Helen Hirsch, who at the time she came to Plazow was in her early twenties. She was the other maid in Goeth’s house, along with Helen Jonas. And she was treated just as badly. At one point in “Inheritance”, even Monica alludes to the fact that her mother Ruth talked about the TWO maids in the house.
    As for Tom Cruise’s new movie, Valkyrie, about a German officer who plotted to assassinate Hitler, this story is well documented in most history books telling the story of the Third Reich. I believe the man’s name was Van Stofflenberg. He was an officer of high rank – and he plotted with othe officers to try and kill Hitler, because Hitler’s generals and army staff could see more and more as the war went on that Hitler was insane and was ruining Germany. I have read many books on the Holocaust and the Third Reich. What I find interesting is that long before “Schindler’s List”, ABC did the miniseries “The Winds of War” and its sequel “War and Remembrance”.
    Both these miniseries, which were produced five years apart, went into great depth about how the Jewish people were systematically reduced to nothing and then murdered in concentration camps. These miniseries were even more graphic than “Schindler’s List”. And they were on TV in 1983 ( The Winds of War”) and in 1988 (War and Remembrance). They were based on books of the same title written by Herman Wouk. War and Remembrance covered the German generals plot against Hitler in great detail. Not to give away the movie, though the facts are already known, but the plot failed and von Stofflenberg and his co-conspirators were shot within 24 hours for high treason. I am looking forward to the movie “Valkyrie” to see how accurately they portray this whole story. I am always surprised whenever the Holocaust is mentioned that many people only use Schindler’s List as a reference point. The miniseries “The Winds of War” and “War and Remembrance” I felt did a much better job of portraying the slow erosion of the life of the Jewish people in Europe and their eventual fate of extermination. Both miniseries are still available to anyone who wants to watch them on DVD. While I think Schindler’s List was an outstanding movie, and deserved all the praise and awards it got, these two miniseries did a better job, I felt, of showing how those times affected certain people by following their stories over the 6 year period of World War II.
    I agree with a lot of the posts about “Never Again”. That is the whole point of Holocaust Remembrance and education. And yet, it IS still happening in places like Darfur, Sudan, Rowanda, Iraq and now the terrrorism is spreading to Pakistan and India. Can man never get along with other men simply because of differences in religion, beliefs, and cultures? I’m 55 years old and I’m becoming cynical about “Never again”. Wars have been going on from the beginning of time…will there always be wars when one country or group decided another one does not deserve to live?
    I worked at a Holocaust Research and Education center for four years and we did many programs on tolerance, had lectures for school children, and heard many survivors’ testimonies – people who had survived the Holocaust in Europe. And yet……the same thing is happening again, genocide. It happened in Cambodia in the 1970′s, it happend in Bosnia in the 1980′s, and look today at Iraq. I hope and I pray someday all this war and killing will end.
    We all need to do our own small part in trying to get along and be tolerant of all peoples and teach this to our children and grandchildren to make it possible for all this terrorism and hate and inhumanity to stop.
    I want to thank PBS for having the courage to air “Inheritance”. It is a brilliant piece of work and an important contribution to Holocaust studies. Very hard to watch, but we all need to watch these kinds of programs to increase our understanding of how terrible those times were and how it affected both victims and children of perpetrators.

  • Laura Young

    FOREIGNID: 18023
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    I grew up with many survivors of the holocaust. This film touched me in a way that is difficult to explain. I grew up in violence. I saw the pain in the faces of the survivors I knew. They knew my pain and did what they could to help me. We seldom talked about it…but that emotional pain was/is so strong it moves with us through our whole lives. we run and run and run from it, only to have it stare back at us when we wash our face. My pain was a result of my family, theirs was from the outside…but pain is pain and it unites us. Something about violence and a child’s innocence makes coming to terms with the horror so much more difficult. We are all imperfect adults.

  • mike tuck

    FOREIGNID: 18024
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    One cannot help but feel the deep sadness of Monica and Helen. I’m an American and only witnessed the newsreels at the end of World War II.
    The people of Germany can only feel great guilt about the war. It can never be forgotten. I’m a non-jew raised in a Jewish community and I remember the deep sadness of my friends and neighbors. God has a special place in Heaven for those who lost their lives to the cruelty of Nazi thugs. As a Christian, and especially at Christmas, I think of Jesus origin. Mary and Joseph and Jesus were Jews. The first pope of the Catholic church was Peter-a Jew. My spiritual roots and those of billions of Christians around the worl are in Israel. We are indeed spiritual brothers and must never condone or forget the hatred that spawned the Holocaust. Shalom Monica and Helen!!

  • Janet in Seattle

    FOREIGNID: 18025
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    I came across this amazing film by accident tonight and was enthralled. It was a real eye opener to see the lasting effects of the war and its attrocities on, not only the victims, but on the children of the criminals. My heart went out to Monika and I applaud her for facing a difficult and painful truth and for working to see her legacy is NOT her father’s. I’m saddened to hear that Germany is sweeping this pain under the rug. But then I guess that is human nature. How much do young people in our own country know…or care? Racism, hate and bigotry are unfortunately still with us.
    I also applaud Helen in being willing to face Monika and share her heartache. Both Helen and Monika are right, only by facing the ugly past can we build a beautiful future. Congratulations to James Moll for seeing the possibilities of this encounter and to PBS for bring such a great film to the airwaves. During this season of peace and goodwill to all may we all be inspired to change the world for the better.

  • lslevinson

    FOREIGNID: 18026
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    After Yad Vashem, this was the most captivating view of the Holocaust I’ve seen in recent times. Thank you to all who put this film together. -lsl

  • Ralph

    FOREIGNID: 18027
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    Monika,
    You are nothing like your father. Because you are a human being. Which he never was. And now you’re even a better person for seeking the truth. You need not suffer for the sins of your father.

  • Gary

    FOREIGNID: 18028
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    Totally impressive production ! ! ! I felt for both ladies equally even though each of their stories came from quite different view points. I don’t know how anyone could correctly feel otherwise than – total sympathy for them both. Monica seemed to feel some guilt by association. Obviously she should not feel that way ! My best to them both ! ~ Seattle

  • kathy

    FOREIGNID: 18029
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    i sa this documentary a few times. you pick up more insight and info to really
    understand what Helen and Monika emotional ties to each other. i felt sorry
    for monika, i kinda of understand what she was feeling. my father was a hard-core military officer, and he lacked patience and compassion. i grew up
    living in this manner and attitude. helen is a stronger minded attitude, she will
    and has been a stronger roll model for monika and helen’s children.
    excellent film. should be shown in schools. people like monika need prayer.
    kathy V.

  • kathy

    FOREIGNID: 18030
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    monika, thank goodness you did not know your father!!! and you are not like
    your father. thats just an opinion! get on with life, your grandson and your husband need you. forget the past and move ahead. i pray you aquire r
    brighter days ahead. all of us that saw this documentary want the best life for you.

  • JH

    FOREIGNID: 18031
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    This film was one of the most compelling of the Holocaust, and how its horror lingers. Monica, so wonderfully human and sensitive, trying to come to and understanding of the lives of who her parents were, and Helen, so long suffering, and yet so strong. Both women are admirable. Why aren’t films like this, not on network television? And when will we, as humans, learn?

  • Frank Kowalski

    FOREIGNID: 18032
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    Maybe PBS can interview the children and grandchildren of Solomon Morel, too. Or even Solomon Morel himself.

  • Rob McCorquodale

    FOREIGNID: 18033
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    I stumbled across the documentary quite by accident. Like everyone else who took the time to find the website and leave a comment; I was touched by the production. It is amazing how the actions of man she never knew has affected the life of Monica. In her mind she suffers for the sins of her father.
    Helen….well….she is just an amazing woman and more than a survivor she is an example of the strength of the human spirit. Both ladies should be commended for participating and this documentary should be required viewing in every high school on this planet.

  • brenda

    FOREIGNID: 18034
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    You may use HTML tags for style and links.
    This is a wonderful documentary. I applaud both women for their courage to share their stories and their pain. Monika should be proud of herself for not continuing her father’s legacy – stand tall and proud Monika – you are correct, you are not your father.
    Helen -it seems that Amon Goeth made one good decision and that was to bring you into his home which allowed for you to meet Oskar Schindler and be saved. Thank you for sharing your story and for reaching out to Monika – after all she is also a victim of Amon Goeth.

  • Matt

    FOREIGNID: 18035
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    Cannot add anything that was already said on how powerful and moving this was – except to add that Monika is a very exceptional person, her English is excellent, and there are so many unrealized victims of this war, really, any war.

  • Janalee Minton

    FOREIGNID: 18036
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    This is a wonderful film. Thank you to these two women for laying your pain out for us to see. I can understand Monika’s anger at her mother; her father was a monster, but choosing not to see evil is what allows it to flourish.

  • Peter Cybulski

    FOREIGNID: 18037
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    An excellent film by James Moll. He lets Helen and Monika tell their stories without any unnecessary embellishment.
    The Holocaust is one of the greatest tragedies of this century and I believe it should be taught in every high school in this country, in as much detail as possible; for ignorance of history has indeed lead to repetition of this kind of tragedy again and again.
    Anti-semitism is on the rise again, bad economic times is one of the elements that fuels this. Jews have systematically been excluded and treated as scapegoats for all things wrong for hundreds of years. It has to stop. But, it will only ever stop when people stop demonising cultures and nationalities they apparently seem to neither care about nor want to even understand.
    My hope is that this will change.

  • Cathy McClelland

    FOREIGNID: 18038
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    After viewing this program and seeing and also feeling some of the pain that both Helen and Monika have, I can’t help but believe that they are both victims of Amon Goeth. The whole time, I wanted to reach out to Monika and say, “It’s not your fault. You are not responsible for what your father did.” And the horror of what Helen experienced makes me silent. It is unconceivable what one human can do to another.
    They say Amon Goeth was a monster. No, I don’t think monster because that would excuse the behavior. I think he was a human being and what he did to other human beings there are no words to express the gravity of those actions.
    I don’t think it will be easier for Monika’s grandson to deal with the legacy of Amon Goeth. I know this because as an American born twenty plus years after WWII and the Holocaust, I am still grappling with it trying to make sense of what happened. It doesn’t get any easier. I am afraid of what it means about what human kind is capable of. We must remember, lest we forget, it could happen again. Let us love one another.

  • Donna Universal

    FOREIGNID: 18039
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    You may use HTML tags for style and links. This is a very important film. My father was an American liberator in France and only spoke once or twice about what he saw during that time. I have always been interested in the Holocost. I have always wondered how the survivors returned to living again. It amazes me how survivors, like Helen look so unaffected yet live every day changed by the events they lived through. She looks like any other American! Yet I am sure a day has not gone by in all these years when she has not had some thought or thoughts of those days. How do you even throw away a piece of food without thinking about the time you saved every crumb and had almost nothing to eat. I know Helen lived in the villa and received extra food but she was fortunate, if one can even call it that, to have a little more food than people in the camps. I thank every survivor who has sopken even one word of any of these atrocities to another human. As horrible as it all was, and as difficult as if must be to put into words, the survivors must tell others so no one can ever believe this did not happen.

  • Gail

    FOREIGNID: 18040
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I found Inheritance a few nights ago & was immediately caught up in Monika’s story. I was born in 1944, just 3 weeks before my father was killed in Italy, fighting the Nazis. Although my mother married when I was four, I know what it’s like to grow up with a part of your life missing. I remember how I idolized my father when I was a child, not unlike most children. For me, the idolization of my father had sound basis – he was a wonderful man who died serving his country and protecting his family from the evils of Hitler.
    I’m sure Monika wanted to remember her father as a hero, too, so the shock of the truth of Amon Goeth’s atrocities was overwhelming for her. She’s an amazing woman to have wanted to find the truth – it would have been so easy for her to sweep the truth under the rug, as so many other Germans did at the time. I applaud her strength and courage! Helen Jonas, too, is an amazing woman. I sincerely hope that both of these women gained peace from the experience, and that we who watched the film never forget what we saw. I will share the link to watch the program online with many people. This story needs to be seen by more and more people. Thank you to everyone involved in its production.

  • Cassie

    FOREIGNID: 18041
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    Both Helen and Monika are incredible women. Monika, especially, broke my heart since she is just beginning to fully grasp who her father was. I felt for her so much, because you can almost see her sorrow and the toll it’s taking on her even in her physical countenance.
    It was unfortunate when Helen briefly lashed out at her, though, when Monika was trying to explain the lies she was told about the camp. Helen seemed to misunderstand what Monika was saying and became angry. Monika wasn’t justifying it – she was simply trying to tell Helen the lies that adults had told her when she was very young. However, I can’t blame Helen because I’m sure it was overwhelming being back at that villa, and especially surreal to be there with Göth’s own daughter.
    Anyway, it was an incredible documentary. Kudos to both Helen and Monika for having the courage to participate. Helen, for her courage and willingness to go back to such a horrible place in her life – I don’t think I would’ve been able to do that – and her willingness to meet Monika. And to Monika, who’s making an incredibly powerful statement against the ideology of her parents, especially by meeting Helen, visiting these locations, and raising her grandson to accept everybody for who they are. Monika, you aren’t your father and you shouldn’t carry the burdens of what he did. I hope you find peace in your life and god bless.

  • Rhyanna T.

    FOREIGNID: 18042
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    This documentary, Inheritance, was a very touching and moving documertary. It really makes your look at your life and realized what you have and how much more you have than others. Some people complain that their lives are horrible, but in actuality, their lives are much better than others.
    I give kudos to Monika for having the courage and the will-power to want to meet with Helen to find out more about her father. So much that even when Helen put her down in the beginning and would not meet with her, she continued to try and eventually that had a chance to meet. If that was me and i knew some back ground about my father, i would just try to ignore the fact that he was a killer and move on with my life. It is clear that Monika is a very strong woman and will go to do bigger and better things in and with her life.
    I can’t imagine being in Helens situation as far as, being forced to go the the camp and constantly being abused physically, mentally, and emotionally. It must be hard for her daughter, Vivian, to have to give with someone who probably does not want to be touched very much because when she was touched, she most-likely remembers that it hurts.
    As these beautiful woman all met and got together and talked, it really shows a lot to the generations to come. It proves that no matter what happens, you can always change the past and even though someone in the family is not the best person, the next person down the line could be an amazing person. You never know how someone is unless you meet with them and get to know them.
    I hope the best to all of these wonderful people and a better world because of them.

  • Rhyanna T.

    FOREIGNID: 18043
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    This documentary, Inheritance, was a very touching and moving documertary. It really makes your look at your life and realized what you have and how much more you have than others. Some people complain that their lives are horrible, but in actuality, their lives are much better than others.
    I give kudos to Monika for having the courage and the will-power to want to meet with Helen to find out more about her father. So much that even when Helen put her down in the beginning and would not meet with her, she continued to try and eventually that had a chance to meet. If that was me and i knew some back ground about my father, i would just try to ignore the fact that he was a killer and move on with my life. It is clear that Monika is a very strong woman and will go to do bigger and better things in and with her life.
    I can’t imagine being in Helens situation as far as, being forced to go the the camp and constantly being abused physically, mentally, and emotionally. It must be hard for her daughter, Vivian, to have to give with someone who probably does not want to be touched very much because when she was touched, she most-likely remembers that it hurts.
    As these beautiful woman all met and got together and talked, it really shows a lot to the generations to come. It proves that no matter what happens, you can always change the past and even though someone in the family is not the best person, the next person down the line could be an amazing person. You never know how someone is unless you meet with them and get to know them.
    I hope the best to all of these wonderful people and a better world because of them.

  • Susannah

    FOREIGNID: 18044
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Re: “Inheritance”, my first impression was why was this documentary made. Monika doe not bear the sins of her father or her mother. We will never know why Amon Goethe was a monster, what drove him, what went wrong in his head or why his wife chose to close off reality. Our present day challenges are to focus on today’s honesty, integretity, and hope circumstances will never have a horrific repeat as those in WW2. We are not the past but the present. Helen had a clear sense of this yet she was compelled to go back to Poland for closure. God bless Monika & Helen.

  • Mary Ann

    FOREIGNID: 18045
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    This magnificent documentary moved me so deeply that I had to see it twice before making a comment. Mr. Moll, your sensitivity to the subject, Monika, Helena and the myriad emotions and ramifications has created an important work and I thank you so much for this glimpse in to this unknown world. Who am I to know whose pain is deeper? But from my POV, Monika’s attempt to find herself, her way, her reason to be, her right to be, and her Truth, is one of the saddest stories I have ever seen.

  • Tesa Chavez

    FOREIGNID: 18046
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    Inheritance was profoundly moving. Monika seemed so sad as well as strong. I missed the beginning so am wondering why Monika was raising her grandchild? What happened to the child’s parent? Helen and her daughter were also gallant. Thank you for this insightful perspective.

  • KNME Viewer

    FOREIGNID: 18047
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    By the filmmaker’s own admission, the premise of the documentary was Monika’s inheritance. Apparently the answer is that there will be no relief for her. I feel so badly for her after watching this film. A person only has one mother and one father. She has been told and shown that her father was a “monster.” How could anyone reconcile being the child of a “monster?” Does she believe she is a “monster-child?” How can she live with that? While I suppose the journey to the concentration camp and villa with a Holocaust survivor served some purpose, I feel that she was really crying out for someone who knew her father (Helen) to assure her that she is obviously NOT a “monster-child” and also that Monika’s father had some element of good in him, because everybody does. He had friends and Monika’s mother, after all, so he must have had some redeeming qualities. I don’t think it’s healthy to write off a parent as 100% a “monster” as if he or she were not a human being, because by definition that would make oneself at least half un-human. Nor is it helpful to have other people tell you that your parent was a 100% a “monster,” as occurred in this film. Understandably the journey was traumatizing for Helen, therefore it may not have been the best place for her to have met Monika in order to help Monika in any real way. I hope that Monika can reconcile her unwarranted feelings guilt and shame and I applaud her for revealing to us that there are innocent children out there such as herself who clearly need healing and our love extended to them.

  • cynthia

    FOREIGNID: 18048
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I have never been so moved by a program than I have with this production Inheritance, I am going to buy the DVD and share it with every person I know, what an amazing thing to bring together these 2 strong women, I felt for both of them, I dont blame Helen for trying to keep a certain distance from Monika, I kept expecting them to hug at some point, but I understand why Helen had to separate herself, so much fear still in her memory, and she seemed to be struggling so much with the natural instinct to hate Monika because of where she came from, but Helen was such a better person than that. Thank you for bringing this to us, I just wish that schools would make a few of these productions mandatory to watch, this and the movie “The boy in the striped pajamas” These stories give us a perspective of both sides.

  • jane

    FOREIGNID: 18049
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    i really felt for poor monika…the way they pushed her away in her pain…like their pain was more because they have this bigger number…and she wasn’t worthy of feeling too much…i myself wanted to hug her, comfort her…she was so brave…to go there, to experience this for the world’s people…she had a right to grieve, to cry just as hard & as long as she needs to…her life was very tragic as well, and everyone around her will feel parts of it all their lives anyway, no matter what…i am glad she has a strong husband, and sweet little one they can watch to grow and become a better man, make them all proud of who they are…god bless her heart!…a truley brave woman

  • Amy

    FOREIGNID: 18050
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    What an amazing story. I’ve researched a lot and viewed a lot of media about the Holocaust. The strength of these 2 women is amazing. I’ve only one thing to compare and that would be Immaculee Ilibagiza’s strength. The spirit and forgiveness is so important. Helen does seem so bitter and angry and hurt, although she did live this incredible horror. It’s obvious in the film, that Monika’s mother, did turn a blind eye. It would be neat to see these women with Immaculee speak of ‘how’ they come to terms emotionally and spiritually with their perpetraitors. God Bless you and thank you for this film. It should be shown in schools.

  • J.A.

    FOREIGNID: 18051
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    The film was very well done. I found myself however, wondering two things at the end.
    1. Why did Helen (and many posters here), say that it was good for Monika to be willing to look at the truth of what her father, and mother, did.
    This to me, really feels like some blame is being assigned to Monika. Is it up to her, to suffer the sins of her parents? She was an infant.
    I can’t imagine how much pain and suffering Helen has experienced due to the events of the Holocaust. I was bothered by the fact that she seemed all too quick to try and make Monika hurt by venting her anger on her, at the monument. Monika’s father committed those atrocities. And, her mother was complicit. Monika did nothing, and has obviously lived for years, with a guilt that isn’t her’s as an individual. It was as if Helen felt that she could make Amon feel pain by directing her anger at Monika.
    I was sorry that Helen and her daughter weren’t able to understand that Monika too, has suffered greatly. Not only has Monika had to live with the legacy of a father who was a mass murderer, but she also grew up without a father. And, her mother committed suicide when Monika would have been in her 30′s.
    2. It seems so odd that so many Nazi and Holocaust movies and specials have come out in movies and TV over the past month. Could this have been pre-emptive marketing for the atrocities Israel has carried out against the Palestinian people over the past month???

  • Steve (normally somewhat unemotional)

    FOREIGNID: 18052
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    This documetary moved and touched me more than anything else that I can remember in many, many years. I just watched it for the second time after missing the fist 5 minutes of it when I unexpectedly happened across it last weekend. Helen’s pain is so real and profound… I found myself crying at so many of Helen’s vivid comments and the ways that she expressed them. She speaks very, very well and has sadly endured so much in her life during the war and then tragically with her husband that took his life. I also felt for Monika as well in trying to come to grips with a legacy like hers….as Helen said, “Monika seems like a sensitive person” and she undoubtedly is. Monika also speaks very well and vividly. Thank you Director Moll for an incredible and important and insightful presentation. I truly hopes this continues to get airtime because anyone that happens across it like me, will surely benefit.

  • Bruce & Debbie

    FOREIGNID: 18053
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    What an incredible presentation. Both women showed such courage in doing this film. Helen, your clarity, your emotion and your eloquence of your experiences and what you have endured (and contnue to endure) was so powerful. I pray for you and your family. Despite your unimagineable and traumatizing experiences, I admire your outlook on life and how optimistic you seem to be. And yes, you are right, your parents and family will NOT be forgotten thanks to your strength, courage and willingness to share such difficult personal memories….thank you.

  • sally

    FOREIGNID: 18054
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    Inheritance was a masterful way of telling a story. I feel so much empathy for Monika. Monika had only one person in her life that seemed in touch with her soul, and that was her Grandmother. Monika being a young child had no
    way to know and live the truth growing up in her surroundings. Helen is so admirable to speak out about the darkness of the events that happened to her, her family, her people. Such horrors. I admire both women for the courage to tell this story. What a moving story and so well done. I am
    overwhelmed. Thank you.

  • Melissa Taylor

    FOREIGNID: 18055
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    I was moved by this independent film about survivors on both sides trying to come to grips with what is unquestionably the most horrific event of the 20th Century (although Stalin killed more of his own citizens.) I could hardly stop crying, for all involved. Monika wanted absolution from Helen but Helen was incapable of giving it and it was too much to ask of Helen. As a Christian, I have always had a strong bond to Jews. I felt that Helen was so right to stop Monika when she started repeating some of the excuses she had heard: “No, Monika, it was only because we were Jews, just because we were Jews. The excuses have to stop here and now!” That’s paraphrasing, of course. Monika is struggling to reconcile her “inheritance” from her father and her mother and I was so pained by her struggle. She is one brave human being. I am also struck by the statement that it came down to choices. I recently saw “The Reader” and had read some critics reviews that it was about Holocaust guilt and after seeing it, I felt the critics had missed the point entirely: it was about choices. It was about how choices affect our lives and our destinies.
    I grew up in the aftermath of the war and it was deeply ingrained in my childhood. I played on gun turrets and was surrounded by many vestiges of the war. It will always be with me. My heart aches for the human suffering. And when people ask me, “Why didn’t people DO something?” I tell them, there were many who did and we do not know their names because they were shot or hung with their whole families from balconies to warn others. We can never know how many tried to help, how many died helping. They are nameless and faceless because they did not live. Here is a name you do not hear about: Irena Sendler. She saved more Jews than Oskar Schindler. Google her name and read about someone who risked it all.
    Note to poster JA: It is not appropriate to even bring the Palestinians into this discussion. Not fair. Off limits!

  • john david hutsell

    FOREIGNID: 18056
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    the Art Speigelman bit doesn’t work well–the photos just flash by in a second. is there some way to fix this?
    Inheritance is very good.
    thanks,
    dave

  • Kathleen Stroupe

    FOREIGNID: 18057
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Outstanding portrayal of mental and emotional impact of sins of the fathers on who knows how many generations. My German grandfather committed suicide by slitting his wrists in the bathtub of our home in the small town where I grew up. That’s only part of my inheritance. His father said the German atrocities were all lies. I guess he never saw the pictures.
    Mr. James Moll, how about a documentary on radical Islamic perpetrators? Based on their Koran education they teach their children that they must KILL ALL who don’t share their religious belief. They will even be rewarded by Allah with a top spot in paradise. Amon Goeth proved that tolerance can not be the answer when dealing with people with warped destructive views like his. My concern is reading here so many postings of “never again”. It’s happening every day in much smaller numbers, but self-centered, money-loving American eyes are focused on our economic crisis. Study, remain alert and teach your children well.

  • Brooke Witham

    FOREIGNID: 18058
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Thank you Ms.Herwig and Thank you Ms, Jonas
    My sincere sympathies for your pain and legacies.
    The truth only starts the process of setting you free.
    Hopefully your courage and goodness will help the world heal.
    Thank you also Mr.Moll for communicating these important truths to the world.
    Sincerely
    Brooke Witham NY

  • Mary K.

    FOREIGNID: 18059
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    You may use HTML tags for style and links.
    I thought that Monika was very very brave. She is trying to confront her country’s and her parents’ roles in a horrifying episode of 20th century history. She came to the camp alone and was willing to face very painful revelations. In addition, she was trying to express difficult concepts in what was for her a foreign language. She bore the crimes of her country on her shoulders.
    I felt that Helen was overly harsh with Monika. After all, she did not cause Helen’s anguish, which was certainly very real. Was it necessary for Helen to tell Monika that her father was a monster? He was a monster and I can appreciate that Helen was flooded with painful memories, but perhaps she should have ventilated to her daughter, instead of dumping on Monika. It is unJewish to embarrass or publicly humiliate someone, which is what she did to Monika.
    At the villa, Monika was trying to express what she had been taught in school about the extermination of the Jews and Helen seemed to have misunderstood Monika and cut her off.
    It was brave of Helen to return to the scene of such horror, but Monika was the one who was bearing the burden of history and I felt such pain for her vulnerability.
    This was one of the most complex and best produced programs I have seen on television and I appreciate the strength and courage it must of taken both women to participate in such an emotional journey.
    I hope that schools will use this film as an opportunity to show how the crimes of one generation can afflict generations to come that had nothing to do with their elders’ crimes.
    Mary K. Grand Rapids

  • http://adamsflyfishing.com Vicky Adams

    FOREIGNID: 18060
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    Tonight was the first time I saw the documentary. It was extremely moving. I can’t imagine anything like the holocaust. I have great empathy for Monika. I hope the generations to come never forget or get a watered down version of the holocaust.

  • Mary Bishop

    FOREIGNID: 18061
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Seldom have I seen a documentary in which the leading characters possess the level of unselfconsciousness — like that of a practiced stage play — that we see in Helen and Monika. Because of our expectation of fictional arcs, documentaries often have a hard time reaching this dramatic standard. But because of Helen’s and Monika’s honesty and the pain of their histories, we felt as much as an audience can.

  • http://blossom2916@live.com lynn howell

    FOREIGNID: 18062
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    i caught this show at about 3 in the morning. at first i had no clue what the story was until they showed photos of the “devil in the flesh”. i’ve always loved reading about this inhumanity to man, but to see monika; i was instantly angry! it seemed to me that she wanted to try and give excuses about why her father took the role he did in this tragedy. helen and all the jewish people that survived thisblackhole in history are the one’s that deserve validation and recognition for what has happened. let monika stay where ever she came from!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Karessa

    FOREIGNID: 18063
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    My mom and I just watched Inheritance tonight about Monika and Helen and I must say that it was impossible to keep a dry eye. My heart goes out to the both of them and I will pray continual healing for both women. Its very hard to be in the shoes of Helen who is face to face with the seed of one who destroyed her life as she knew it. I could see the struggle that she had in even looking into the face of Monika and I felt her pain. My heart was so burdened for Monika because of the legacy that her mother and father left her. What guilt and shame that was evident on her face and posture. My heartfelt prayers are for the both of them, Thank you PBS for keeoping history alive and reminding us of the past so that we dont repeat it in our future. Is there anyway to send both ladies cards or letters of encouragement?

  • Curtis Smith

    FOREIGNID: 18064
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    James Moll in “Inheritance” notes that he learned very little about the Holocaust in school, and especially the question, what does “Six Million Jews” mean?
    Here is a very vivid answer to that question that I found on the Internet site “Snagfilms.com,” a documentary film site, I strongly urge Mr. Moll to go to. On Snagfilms.com go to a documentary entitled “PAPER CLIPS.”
    “PAPER CLIPS” tells the story of a group of students at Whitwell Middle School, in a small Tennessee town, who in studying about the Holocaust asked this same question and found an answer. These students decided to collect six million paper clips in order to visualize the six millions Jews murdered by Adolph Hitler.
    In studying the Holocaust and learning about intolerance and diversity, the results were remarkable – as paper clips were mailed to them from survivors of the Holocaust as well as from many other people these students wrote letters to about their project.
    In 2001, after collecting over 11 million paper clips, the students built a memorial to the Holocaust that included an authentic Nazi railroad car shipped from Germany. A group of Holocaust survivors came to Whitwell, Tennessee to tell their stories. It turned into a remarkable community-wide memorial.
    Perhaps PBS could also do a story about the Whitwell, TN school students and this inspiring story of how they learned how many six million murdered Jews means.
    Why did they select paper clips to visualize the vast number of six million Jews? They learned that Norwegians invented the paper clip and used it during WWII as a symbol of solidarity against the Nazis.
    Thank you, Mr. Moll for the documentary “Inheritance” – a story that must stay alive. Wonderful!

  • Maria

    FOREIGNID: 18065
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    Thank you very much for this film. It was very touching and eye opening. I feel for both, Monika and Helen. But I am especially thankful for showing Monika’s point of view. I have never seen a German point of view in an Holocaust documentary. Once again, thank you very much!

  • gerald tigchon

    FOREIGNID: 18066
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I am deeply moved by James Moll and his piece ‘Inheritance’. I was close friends with a survivor of the camps. I am so deeply troubled by the Jewish people calling every non Jew, Christian. These were no Christians that murdered the Jews. These were everyday, indoctrinated with hate, human beings. Under the right circumstances they could have been anyone of us. As a race of people, all humanity is responsible for their fellow humanity. How dare any of us reduce the other as being less than. Hate is learned and manifested when we refuse to treat others like we would treat ourselves.

  • Anna

    FOREIGNID: 18067
    FOREIGNPARENTID:
    I wish you would go back to Monika of “Inheritance” and do more on her experience of post-War Germany and the veil of silence/denial that was her experience until her grandmother told her the truth about her father. You must have had more footage on it, yet you presented it as just a few seconds, and in most of them Helen;s story, not Monika’s, dominated. That is a story that NEEDS to be told well, now. It is the flip side of the coin of the Holocaust and the years immediately after, and we are losing it faster even that the first-hand victim accounts. The filmmaker started out with Monika, yes, but the film soon focused more and more on Helen. It might have been better he’d spent more time on Monika, especially the young teen Monika who found out what her father was and yet could hate the Goering girl so much. And others like Monika who were just as young and innocent at the time.
    If we continually listen to only one side of a horrific story, we cannot prevent recurrence. But the Holocaust as told in the popular media, this film included alas, is a one sided story. All of us need to understand how people who are not victims can fall silent and stay silent, as well. We need to see and connect with self-interest, fear, complacency and ignorance as well. We need to comprehend how an entire people can be persuaded, bullied and shamed into “not seeing”, and how they can want to maintain that silence even after the facts are in the open. We need to know what makes the exceptions, like Schindler, the exceptions–why they don’t turn away when others do. We need to know why their stories get buried too. So be really daring–go back and really tell this story again from the “other innocents” side–the young children of the late War and early post-War period, like Monika.

  • Tiffany

    FOREIGNID: 18068
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    I agree with the last poster that Monika’s story deserved some more air time on the film. The “monsters’ being talked about were her parents! She grew up loving them and then found out horrible things about her father. I have no doubt that her biggest struggle is coming to terms with the fact that she has feelings for him as her father, but still abhors the life he lived. And I think Helen was very strong in telling her that no one should have any feelings for Amon or Ruth because of the things they did. She did not even want to tell Monika about Ruth saying she would “help them if she could.” But I think Monika still does love her mother and also the memory she first had of her father. No one should ever make her feel guilty about that. She can love them and yet teach against the lives they led.

  • maria

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    I recently watched this film and it was very moving. I felt the pain that Helen had when she went back into the villa and looked out the window-Monika you could tell felt her pain as well. Monika is a very strong and emotional woman, and one who I feel wanted to comfort Helen. The horrible things that her father did will always be a part of Helen’s memories-and what a strong and beautiful woman she is!! I think it was wonderful that her daughter went with her as well. Thank you for making this film, I wish there were more out there like it.

  • Simone Bosco

    I was very touched by Monika and found Helen to be rather narcissistic with a complete lack of empathy for Monika. Monika has had it worse than Helen. Helen at least had good parents. Monika didn’t. She had a mother who killed herself, and a mean mother, and a bad father whom she idolized when she was little and loved. Who doesn’t want to love their parents. I know Helen’s parents were killed, but Monika never even had good parents. Monika had a lot of empathy for Helen, but I didn’t see it from Helen nor her daughter towards Monika-they could have had more empathy. I love Monika and I hope she finds the closure that she so deserves. What a lovely woman! Helen I found incredibly self-centered. All about her. Monika has pain too lady-get some empathy for others!!!! Me, me ,me. I couldn’t stand listening to Helen, and I actually had to mute to movie where she was going on and on about herself with no regard for Monika and her incredible pain.I pray that Monika finds some peach and closure. She is the one who needs it way more than Helen. Helen has a big mouth and finds plenty of support gabbing away.I did not like Helen. Not only did I find Helen narcissistic, I found her to be mean. She was mean to Monika when Monika was in so much pain. Really! Monika, you are not your father, nor are you your mother. And they are not monstors. They were people too. Really the annoying Helen was way out of line. I wish Monika’s husband had been there to support her. She needed support from Helen and her mute daughter. Monika’s own daugher has drug problems and Monika has to raise her grandchild as a grandparent. That is incredibly hard. My heart goes out to you Monika!