THE RIGHTEOUS ENEMY
At the height of World War II, while the Nazis and most of their allies were deporting and exterminating the Jews of Europe, some 40,000 found protection in the most unlikely of places – territories occupied by the army of Fascist Italy.
In areas under their occupation in Croatia, France and Greece, Italian soldiers and diplomats firmly refused to collaborate in the “Final Solution,” despite orders from Mussolini himself to comply with the German requests.
This documentary film takes the form of a personal investigation by the director, Joseph Rochlitz, whose father, Imre Rochlitz was saved by the Italians in occupied Croatia. The film widens out to describe the Italian rescue efforts in France and Greece from 1941 to 1943, and seeks to understand the motives behind this extraordinary Italian attitude.
The film includes rare interviews with some of the protagonists of the Italian rescue efforts, as well as the testimony of Jews saved by their actions.
Historical consultants appearing in the film are Menahem Shelah (Yad Vashem, Israel) and Serge Klarsfeld, the French lawyer and historian.
WNET/NY – PBS (USA) - 1987
ISRAEL TV - 1988
DISCOVERY (USA) - 1990
San Francisco Jewish Film Festival , 1988
Holocaust Memorial Museum – Washington DC, 2000
Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimo’ – New York, Giorno della Memoria, 2003
Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa Cinémathèques –
1987 & 2002
Centro Ebraico Pitigliani – Rome, 1992
Istituto Diplomatico Mario Toscano – Rome
Università della Tuscia – Viterbo
Museo Storico della Liberazione di Roma – Rome, 2003
Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (La Farnesina) – Rome, 2003
Anne Frank House – Amsterdam
University of Berlin
King’s College – London
Nine Gates Festival – Prague
Vienna Jewish Film Week, 2004