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Review: An emotional journey in 'Six Million and One'

David Fisher's documentary is an intensely personal look at his family's efforts to understand the horrors of the Holocaust.

October 18, 2012|By Gary Goldstein
  • Mickey Dorsey, left, a WWII veteran and Gusen liberator, rides with Pat Waters.
Mickey Dorsey, left, a WWII veteran and Gusen liberator, rides with Pat… (Handout )

Israeli filmmaker David Fisher's documentary "Six Million and One," while hardly a definitive look at one of history's most monstrous periods, proves a unique, highly personal approach to unraveling the endless mysteries of the Shoah.

Upon reading a journal written by his late father, a Hungarian Jew and Holocaust survivor, Fisher decides to "journey in the footsteps" of his dad's chronicle. To that end he enlists his reluctant siblings — three brothers, one sister — to accompany him on an often ghoulish swing down memory lane, a trip that takes the group to the sites of former concentration camps in Gusen and Gunskirchen, Austria.

What transpires is as much a portrait of the conflicted, yet deeply loving dynamic among the children of a Holocaust survivor as it is a startling reminder of the atrocities committed in locations that now often look benign, if not downright idyllic. Talk about chilling.

While we learn little of the Fisher siblings' current lives as they tour, among other emotionally charged spots, a Gusen tunnel excavated by Jewish prisoners and a demon-filled Gunskirchen forest, their warmly combative, often darkly humorous debates prove rare, revelatory and intensely absorbing.

Fisher's separate visit with several still-traumatized American World War II vets who helped liberate the death camps is also stirring —and horrifying.

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"Six Million and One." No MPAA rating; in Hebrew, English and German with English subtitles. Running time: 1 hour, 33 minutes. At Laemmle's Town Center 5, Encino.

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