A very special project

In 2014 I met Miriam Friedmann. After a public event she talked to me. She expressed the wish to make a film about her Jewish family.

 She told me that she wanted to make a film about her Jewish family.


Thankfully, I refused, as I knew about all the work that such a project entails. But in the end she was able to inspire me with her idea. This resulted in four years of intensive cooperation.


Of course, over time my family was also affected by the "new topic" that sometimes kept me busy day and night. Miriam and her husband Friedhelm had already collected a lot of material. But there were still many new things to explore.


The married couple Dr. Friedhelm Katzenmeier and Miriam Friedmann M.A. (front) and Josef Pröll
The married couple Dr. Friedhelm Katzenmeier and Miriam Friedmann M.A. (front) and Josef Pröll


In the archives, the employees are already our hard-working helpers and support us with their competence and wide expertise. I've already experienced this in a different way. Many years ago, you had the feeling that your questions were rather annoying.


I often met with Miriam and Friedhelm. We rarely spent our time together privately and "comfortably", mostly we sat in archives. A friendship developed, which I don't want to miss anymore.


At the same time we had to take care of financial resources. We were unable to implement the project on our own. We contacted many organisations, people and personalities from public life. Miriam had taken over this task for the most part. (See sponsors)

In 2017 Dr. Bernhard Lehmann joined our small team. His many years of expertise as a historian proved to be particularly helpful when it came to obtaining and evaluating documents.

While I was working on the film material, Bernhard got the missing documents or put already existing documents into the right context. We made interviews together and visited archives. The amount of documents became more and more extensive. Now we also researched the names of the perpetrators who were connected with our research.


In the meantime, the fascinating and exciting work of  reducing the complex to the essential beganThen I wrote the commentary texts.

It took six months until everything was ready in the draft version and could be submitted to our editors for the first correction. After three more corrections, the time had come: the first little preview of the film. Had I made the right choices? Were the targets realised?


The work on this film cost, presumably not only me, many sleepless nights and energy. Every piece of information seemed important. After all, it's about people and their destiny. And there was also the question: What is important to pass this story on to the present? Memory and commemoration alone were not enough for us.


After more than four years, it's up to our viewers to decide if our project is important and worth seeing.


Many thanks to all who helped - special thanks to Miriam, Friedhelm and Bernhard, but also to Doris, my wife and my grown-up children, who had to help again and again and who endured me all the time.  :-))


 Josef Pröll