With his documentary, writer/director Mark Jonathan Harris has made an invaluable contribution to our understanding of the ugly reality of the immediate post-war years that were justly celebrated by the victorious Allies while the Jews, without justice, continued to suffer and die.

THE LONG WAY HOME

A Illusion review by Joan Ellis.


"The Long Way Home" is a sharp rejoinder to the assumption that the suffering of the Jews ended in 1945. This compelling documentary chronicles the treatment of the victims by the victors who freed them from death camps and then didn't know what to do with them. Once again, in allied refugee camps, the Jews lived behind barbed wire, slept on shelves, and were shipped around Europe in boxcars. "It is better to be a conquered German than a liberated Jew," said one.

The euphoria that accompanied war's end turned into national self-absorption. Suddenly and conveniently, England, France, and the United States tightened their attitudes and immigration laws--all the better to rebuild after the war without having to think about an enormous group of survivors who were weak from disease and starvation, torn permanently from their homes and families. Those who returned to Poland and Czechoslovakia met rampant anti-Semitism. Where were they to go? Theirs was a matter not of choice but of survival. And they would have to do it alone.

As nations slammed their doors, the movement to create a homeland within Palestine forced itself on nations who wished the problem would disappear. The creation of an independent state was the goal that galvanized the Jews to undertake the largest illegal mass movement in modern times.

Of 63 ships smuggling refugees to Palestine, only three managed to avoid capture by the British. And this at a time when America's James Byrnes granted amnesty to German corporations that functioned on slave labor; when General George Marshall fought Harry Truman's support for the movement; when the British deported Jews to the 100-degree heat of Cypress; when Clement Atlee refused, with extraordinary venom, Truman's request to admit 100,000 Jews to Palestine. In this despair, David Ben Gurion gave them hope.

Then the opposition crumbled. The British resolve to stay in Palestine weakened. Andre Gromyko stood in the U.N. to call for a Jewish state. Palestine was partitioned into two states, which shortly contained 600,000 Jews and 30,000,000 Arabs. With little support from his own government, President Harry Truman was resolute in his belief that the Jews were entitled to a homeland.

This powerful film footage jabs us repeatedly with the unexpected: George Marshall fuming in anger at Truman; Clark Clifford, now old and disgraced, describing his role as Truman's spokesman for an independent state; Eisenhower and Patton touring the DP camps.

The birth of Israel in 1948, validating a 3000-year Jewish presence in that land, was the culmination of the work and dreams of refugees and guerrillas who went on to lead their nation. It was the achievement of their lives, and the war continues. With his documentary, writer/director Mark Jonathan Harris has made an invaluable contribution to our understanding of the ugly reality of the immediate post-war years that were justly celebrated by the victorious Allies while the Jews, without justice, continued to suffer and die.


Film Critic : JOAN ELLIS
Word Count : 491
Studio : Moriatt Films
Rating : NR
Running Time: NA


Copyright (c) Illusion

Return to Ellis Home Page

THE LONG WAY HOME

A Illusion review by Joan Ellis.


"The Long Way Home" is a sharp rejoinder to the assumption that the suffering of the Jews ended in 1945. This compelling documentary chronicles the treatment of the victims by the victors who freed them from death camps and then didn't know what to do with them. Once again, in allied refugee camps, the Jews lived behind barbed wire, slept on shelves, and were shipped around Europe in boxcars. "It is better to be a conquered German than a liberated Jew," said one.

The euphoria that accompanied war's end turned into national self-absorption. Suddenly and conveniently England, France, and the United States tightened their attitudes and immigration laws--all the better to rebuild after the war without having to think about an enormous group of survivors who were weak from disease and starvation, torn permanently from their homes and families. Those who returned to Poland and Czechoslovakia met rampant anti-Semitism. Where were they to go? Theirs was a matter not of choice, but of survival. And they would have to do it alone.

As nations slammed their doors, the movement to create a homeland within Palestine forced itself on nations who wished the problem would disappear. The creation of an independent state was the goal that galvanized the Jews to undertake the largest illegal mass movement in modern times.

Of 63 ships smuggling refugees to Palestine, only three managed to avoid capture by the British. And this at a time when America's James Byrnes granted amnesty to German corporations that functioned on slave labor; when General George Marshall fought Harry Truman's support for the movement; when the British deported Jews to the one-hundred degree heat of Cypress; when Clement Atlee refused, with extraordinary venom, Truman's request to admit one hundred thousand Jews to Palestine. In this despair, David Ben Gurion gave them hope.

Then the opposition crumbled. The British resolve to stay in Palestine weakened; Andre Gromyko stood up in the U.N. to call for a Jewish state; Palestine was partitioned into two states, which shortly contained 600,000 Jews and 30,000,000 Arabs. With little support from his own government, President Harry Truman was resolute in his belief that the Jews were entitled to a homeland.

This powerful film footage jabs us repeatedly with the unexpected: George Marshall fuming in anger at Truman; Clark Clifford, now old and disgraced, describing his role as Truman's spokesman for an independent state; Eisenhower and Patton touring the DP camps.

The birth of Israel in 1948, validating a three-thousand year Jewish presence in that land, was the culmination of the work and dreams of refugees and guerrillas who went on to lead their nation. It was the achievement of their lives, and the war continues. With his documentary, Writer/director Mark Jonathan Harris has made an invaluable contribution to our understanding of the ugly reality of the immediate post-war years that were justly celebrated by the victorious Allies while the Jews, without justice, continued to suffer and die.


Film Critic : JOAN ELLIS
Word Count : 491
Studio : Moriatt Films, A Division of the Simon Weisenthal Center
Rating : NR
Running time : NA


Copyright (c) Illusion

Return to Ellis Home Page