#HOTDOCS: “LOVE IT WAS NOT”
By George Kozera
My mother spent the last nine months of World War II in Auschwitz and I grew-up hearing her many first hand accounts of living in a Concentration Camp. Not only had visiting the site left me with images I will never forget, I make a point of watching any films that deal with the Holocaust during daytime hours. That’s how I viewed Filmmaker Maya Sarfaty’s astonishing Documentary LOVE IT WAS NOT, based on a love affair between Helena Zitron (a stunningly beautiful Jewish prisoner) and Franz Wunch, an SS officer at the camp.
Impeccably-researched and using interviews with Helena and her sister Rosa, as well as fellow female camp prisoners who validate the stories, Wunch’s daughter who confirms the great love her father had and archival footage of Wunch talking at length, this Movie is never less than fascinating. Horrors pile onto more horrors, culminating in unspeakable tragedy when Rosa becomes a prisoner alongside her two young children. Moreover, it also showcases the bravery of the two lovers as they were responsible for saving the lives of many of Helena’s fellow prisoners. In a bizarre twist of fate Franz asks the love of his life to testify at his war crimes trial in 1972 and she reluctantly does.
The power of LOVE IT WAS NOT is unflinching in its honesty and left me thunderstruck.