This film explores Kopel Kolpanistky's brave struggle to survive the holocaust and, moreover, to conquer its aftermath. A survivor, author, and avenger, Kolpanistky has vowed to tell the world his story. Kopel and other survivor families revisit their difficult pasts and explore their confused identities that have brought them together so many years later.
In 1941, Belarus, a 14 year old Kolpanistky witnessed what was arguably the first ghetto uprising in World War II. Out of nearly 2,350 Jews that lived in the ghetto, Kopel and his father were two of 90 that survived the war. After escaping to the forest, Kolpanistky banded with a partisan unit and eventually joined the Red Army at the German border. Once there, he went on a quest for vengeance against any Nazi he could find.
In a life-changing visit to Lachwa in 2011, Kolpanistky and other survivors tell their story with chilling candor as they recall fond childhood memories, the horrors they endured and committed, and the resulting loss of identity at the hands of their native people.
The Three Vows illustrates an intimate portrait of a survivor’s retrospective. The camera captures every intimate moment; the raw intensity of the group’s experience is juxtaposed with the serene backdrop of the Belorussian landscape. Amid this contrast, a journey come full circle as they rekindle their history.