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Love It Was Not is a tragic love story between a prisoner and a Nazi. Beautiful and full of life, Helena Citron is taken to Auschwitz as a young woman, and soon finds unlikely solace under the protection of Franz Wunsch, a high-ranking SS officer who falls in love with her and her magnetic singing voice. Risking execution if caught, they went on with their forbidden relationship until the war ended and the camp was liberated. Thirty years later, a letter arrives from Wunsch’s wife asking Helena to “return the favor”—testify on Wunsch’s behalf. Faced with an impossible decision, Helena must choose. Will she help the man who brutalized so many lives, but saved hers?
Love It Was Not applies a never-before-seen art method to illustrate dramatic events within a story. Reconstructions of key scenes take the form of multi-layered photomontages using only historical photos and archival images from the time and place where it all happened.
“The testimonies in the film brought back my own memories of Auschwitz. That’s exactly how it was! Unlike feature films about the Holocaust that usually distort the truth and anger me. I was moved by how this film was accurate.” – Yosef Shibek, an Auschwitz survivor
“The ambivalence between good and evil is what drove me at first. Franz was both a sadistic monster, and a gentleman capable of love and compassion. Helena was also not your ideal image of an innocent victim: a strong woman with unbelievable survival skills, who managed to love a cruel SS officer and even forgive him for his inconceivable actions, in light of him helping her and her sister. As I see it, appealing the dichotomous perception of good versus evil is the cornerstone for this film’s relevance to our current lives. That is what makes it an important story that had to be told.
Love It Was Not inevitably raises ethical questions concerning the protagonists of the past. It strives to avoid judgment, yet it offers a direct human take of their lives during the terrible period in the deathcamp, and the efforts they needed afterwards to come back into the living.”
-Director Maya Sarfaty
Runtime: NR • 1h 25m • Hebrew/German/English with English subtitles