The documentary is about identity: German, Jewish, Communist. It tells the complex story of two generations of German Jews from Berlin who left during the Nazi regime. Some went West to the United States and others East to the Soviet Union. Those of the second generation were born in their parents’ countries of exile. After the war and considerable hardship, they purposefully returned to what they hoped would be a “new Germany,” represented by the German Democratic Republic. This period in the GDR is a large portion of their story: their hopes and dreams, as well as disappointments. Then in 1989/90 they found themselves again displaced, this time in the newly unified Federal Republic of Germany. The film documents through interviews before and after their long struggle to find a home.
Until 2015 Professor Jeff Peck was Dean of the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences and Vice Provost for Global Strategies at Baruch College/City University of New York, one of the most diverse higher education institutions in the United States. Thereafter, he moved to Berlin to assume a Mercator Senior Fellowship to study the relationship between diversity and internationalization at three types of Berlin Hochschulen. The topic of diversity continues to be a focus within his expertise on higher education management. For example, he worked closely with the German-American Fulbright Commission on their new European Fulbright Diversity Initiative (EFDI) and co-authored its subsequent report. Professor Peck is also the President of the Friends and Sponsors of the German American Fulbright Commission (VFF) which itself has sponsored and supported an important diversity project that brings Germans with minority backgrounds to the United States to meet with Americans of similar upbringing. As Board Member for the American Friends of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, he co-authored its Diversity Statement and recently participated at the Humboldt Foundation itself (along with Ailsa Kienberger of the British Council) in a lively discussion about bringing diversity to bear on all aspects of such international educational organizations.
Dr. Sandra Anusiewicz-Baer is a Berlin based Jewish educator. She holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in education, Jewish studies and Islamic studies. She served as head of the educational department and later as the head of the cultural department of the Jewish community in Berlin before she left to pursue her doctoral studies in education. Her dissertation about the alumni of the Jewish High School in Berlin asked how the education of the school influences the students’ self-perception and identity. The dissertation, which was published under the title “The Jewish Gymnasium in Berlin – Identity and Jewish Schooling since 1993” was awarded the Humboldt-Prize in the category “Judaism and anti-Semitism”. As a passionate educator, Anusiewicz-Baer founded and worked as editor of “Familienmentsch”, the first Jewish family magazine for the German-speaking region. At present, Anusiewicz-Baer works as the coordinator of the Zacharias Frankel College, a rabbinical seminary established in 2013 to train Masorti/conservative rabbis.
Jodi Wallach is a wife and mother of 3 living in Connecticut. Jodi has been engaged in family history research for the last 15 years, sparked by an interest in her family’s German Jewish roots in Görlitz. Combining her love of history and professional skills gained in recruiting and talent research, she has been able to uncover family documents and connect with distant relatives from around the world to piece together the story of her Wallach and extended families. Learning about her Görlitz Jewish ancestors – who they were, what they were like, what experiences they lived through – has been a source of deep personal fulfillment and made a profound impact on the relationships she has with living relatives. In 2021, Jodi met Lauren Leiderman and participated in Jewish Remembrance Week with other descendants of the Görlitz Jewish Community. This incredibly memorable experience further fueled Jodi’s desire to know and preserve the history of her Görlitz ancestors and those of her new found Görlitz “cousins”, so that future generations can benefit.