Auf Wiedersehen is an unconventional documentary that brings the lessons of history into the present day through the eyes of a curious and irreverent ten year-old-boy. Along the way, the family discovers an astonishing array of collaborators, victims, perpetrators, and unlikely heroes in a startlingly humorous adventure spanning five generations.
In this compelling and often funny tale of recovery and renewal, author and activist Linda G. Mills is propelled by her family's life-threatening experience of September 11, 2001 to return to the site of her mother's flight from Vienna, Austria in 1939. Accompanied by her comically bored son Ronnie, her highly opinionated and wholly engaging mother, Annie, and Aunt Rita, Linda discovers unsettling truths that upend a series of familial and historical myths.
Linda G. Mills and Robert Williams from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum led a discussion of the film after the screening.
Visit the film's website here.
Linda G. Mills is the Producer/Co-Director/Writer/Subject of Auf Wiedersehen - 'Til we Meet Again. She is Professor of Social Work, Public Policy and Law at New York University, where she is also Senior Vice Provost for Undergraduates in the Global Network University. Mills is a prolific writer and researcher and her books and articles have been published by Princeton University Press, Basic Books, and Cornell and Harvard Law Reviews. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation. Her editorials have been published in USA Today and the Los Angeles Times. She has been a blogger for Psychology Today and has been featured in the New York Times Magazine, People, Harpers and Queen, and Glamour. She has also appeared twice on The Oprah Winfrey Show and was a distinguished guest on the O'Reilly Factor.
Mills is the Co-Writer, Co-Director, and Co-Producer of Auf Wiedersehen, 'Til We Meet Again. The film's US debut was at the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival in May 2010 where it won an Audience Award and was also seen at Philadelphia's Independent Film Festival in June 2010 where it was an Opening Night Selection and it received an honorable mention for Best Political Film. The film also premiered in Israel at the Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival in December 2010 and will be seen at the Minneapolis Jewish Film Festival in April 2011. The film will also be seen in Paris in June 2011 and in Brussels and Vienna, also in 2011. Auf Wiedersehen, Til We Meet Again has been selected for Holocaust Education by the Austrian Ministry of Education, Arts, and Culture.
Dr. Robert Williams oversees the development of new scholarly research programs in the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. He is a member of the U.S. delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, where he Chairs the Steering Committee on Archival Access. His doctorate is in history, and he is currently finishing a manuscript that assesses the political-cultural influence of four newspapers in the Soviet and American zones of occupation in Germany with a focus on the roles played by “everyday” German civilians and Holocaust survivors in the reconstruction of the press. In addition, he is writing a separate work on the relationship between anti-Bolshevism, anti-Americanism, and antisemitism in Western European political and cultural discourse over the course of the twentieth century.
Peter Goodrich, LL. B., Ph.D., (Producer/Writer/Camera/Boom Operator) is a professor of Law and Director of Law and Humanities at the Cardozo Law School at Yeshiva University. He also teaches a course on film and the law at New York University. He was the founding dean of the department of Law, Birkbeck College, University of London, where he was also the Corporation of London Professor of Law. He has written extensively in legal history and theory in the areas of law, literature and semiotics and has authored 10 books. He is managing editor of Law and Literature, and on the editorial board of Law and Critique. Recent books include (with Mariana Valverde) Nietzsche and Legal Theory: Half-Written Laws (Routledge, 2006); and (with Lior Barshack and Anton Schutz) Law, Text, Terror (Routledge, 2006). His most recent book is Laws of Love: A Brief Historical and Practical Manual (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2006).
Lothar Hoelbling was born in Vienna in 1970. After graduating from the Lycée Français de Vienne, he studied history and numismatics at the University of Vienna. After receiving his degree in 1996, Hoelbling worked on several research projects in cooperation with the Archive of the University of Vienna. As part of his military service, Hoelbling worked at the Austrian Military History Museum where he conducted research pertaining to the provenance of artifacts and militaria in the collection of the Museum that had been expropriated from their Jewish owners during the Nazi period. In 1999, Hoelbling began working as a historian for the Holocaust Victims' Information and Support Center of the Jewish Community Vienna where he played an active role in the discovery of the community's archival holdings in 2000 in a vacant apartment. From 2001 to 2003 he served as the Head of the Department of the Holocaust Victims' Information and Support Center. From 2004 to 2009 he led the Archive of the Jewish Community Vienna and in this capacity was responsible for the reconstruction of the entire archive that was forced shut by Adolf Eichmann in 1938.
Hannah Lessing is the Secretary General of the National Fund of the Republic of Austria for Victims of National Socialism and the General Settlement Fund of Austria (www.nationalfonds.org), is also head of the Austrian delegation to the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research. Lessing participated in the negotiations on compensation topics conducted by Under-Secretary of State Stuart Eizenstat, member of the Austrian delegation headed by Ambassador Sucharipa for the Joint Statement signed in Washington in January 2001 and has lectured extensively on the National Fund and the General Settlement Fund, as well as in connection with international commemoration activities regarding the Holocaust. Lessing is Austrian and Jewish, the daughter of a Holocaust Survivor from Austria. She grew up in this country at a time when the general teaching and political view of Austria's role during WWII was of first victim. For the last 15 years she has tried to find a sensible way to confront Austrian history, to educate the young Austrians and to build a bridge to the survivors 60 years later, at a point where they thought that nobody will ever care.
Klaus Maurer works at Volkshilfe Österreich - People's Aid Austria. Born 1969 in Austria, Klaus has a Master's degree in political science and cultural anthropology at the University of Vienna. In addition to his studies in post-colonialism, third-world topics, and the history of Latin American indigenous peoples, Maurer has done anthropological field studies and social work with refugees in Guatemala, and travelled through South America and India. His years of social work in Vienna, guiding and accompanying refugees in their daily life and through the asylum process influence his current position lobbying for asylum, migration, and integration within one of the big NGOs in Austria. "It's important to bring together academic theory and social practice."
Anne Meisler Mills fled the Nazis in 1939 when she received a visa from a distant cousin, Martin Gang, living in Los Angeles. Anne was just 13 years old when she traveled from Vienna to England, by train, and took the Cunard Line's Samaria ship to New York City. Eventually, she made her way across the United States to Hollywood. Her sister, Rita Meisler Sinder, took the Kindertransport to England when she was 9. Naftali Meisler, their father, was picked up on Kristallnacht in Vienna and transported to Poland, where he escaped from a transport train. Their mother, Chawe Meisler, traveled to Poland to meet her husband, once her children were bound for the US and England. The Meisler parents arrived safely in Los Angeles in January 1941, where they re-opened their factory called NaMa Blouse; they also went into real estate. Naftali died at 89 and Chawe at 88, after living a successful and fulfilling life. Anne Meisler Mills continues to work in Anne Mills Property Management. Anne is married to Dr. Harold Mills and has two children, Adele and Linda.
Herbert Posch of the University of Vienna's Institute for Contemporary History and the University of Klagenfurt's Institute for Science Communications and Higher Education Research is a historian and museologist. Recent focuses include Intellectual Migration and Exile Studies history of universities and students in the 20th Century (focus National Socialism) and Art loss and restitution in Austria. Recent publications include "Anschluß" und Ausschluss 1938. Vertriebene und verbliebene Studierende der Universität Wien. ["Connection" and exclusion 1938. Displaced and remaining students at the University of Vienna.] (with Doris Ingrisch and Gert Dressel) and inventARISIERT [Inventoried: Provenance Research Aryanised Restitution and housing facilities in moveable collections of the Federal Administrative] in Gabriele Anderl et al (eds.): significantly more cases than expected, 10 years Commission for Provenance Research (Library of the Commission for Provenance Research 1).
Doron Rabinovici, born in Tel Aviv, lives in Vienna, is a writer, essayist and an historian. His thesis (doctorate) and scientific study “Instanzen der Ohnmacht”, published in 2000, is a reconstruction of Vienna's Jewish administration during the Third Reich. As the writer of the short story collection, Papirnik, novels such as Ohnehin and Suche nach M. Roman, the collection of essays Credo und Credit, and others, Rabinovici has won awards such as Mörike-Förderpreis of the city of Fellbach (literary award), Heimito-von-Doderer-Förderpreis of the city of Cologne (literary award) and Cultural award of the city of Vienna, Clemens-Brentano-award of the city of Heidelberg and Jean-Améry-award, Author of the year of the literary journal Buchkultur, and the Willy und Helga Verkauf-Verlon award of the Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance (DÖW) for Austrian anti-fascist publicist. His new novel, Andernorts will be published in the Fall of 2010.
Rita Meisler Sinder was born in Vienna, Austria where life was "gemuetlich." Life changed, when the Nazi's marched in. In November 1938, on a late Saturday afternoon, the SS ripped off the Mezuzzah from their home and dragged her father, in his night clothes and bare feet, down the stairs. He was taken on a cattle train to the border of Poland. Rita's mother, now alone in Vienna, searched for ways to save her daughters. She sent Rita on a Kindertransport to London, England and Anne to the U.S. Rita lived with a loving family in London for one year and then crossed the Atlantic by herself. She was greeted in Los Angeles by her parents and sister, who had miraculously survived. Rita graduated from the University of Southern California with a BS degree. She is Vice President of the Jasin Co. in Encino and continues working in Real Estate and Property Management. She is a community and Israeli activist, and is past president of SFV Israel Bonds, and its Golda Meir Club, as well as past president of WAIPAC. At present, she serves on the National Council of AIPAC and on the Board of World Alliance for Israel and Valley Beth Shalom. She and her husband, Jack Sinder, are involved in the Jewish Federation, the American Jewish University, and the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Rita and Jack have two children, Sheri and Alan. Sheri is married to Jim and they have two children, Cara and Jeanna, and Alan is married to Hiromi and they have one child, Satomi. Rita believes her grandchildren are the light of her life.