[ Synopsis ]
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 ten-year-old 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.
In rarely filmed archives in the Jewish Community Vienna, a new generation of archivists and historians, some of whom are themselves descendants of Nazis, painstakingly reconstruct the records of the Jewish exodus. In her family's files, Linda discovers a complicated story of escape, deception, and complicity.
Auf Wiedersehen is an unconventional documentary that brings the lessons of history into the present day through the eyes of an 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.
[ Featured in the Film ]
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.
Linda G. Mills, (Producer/Co-Director/Writer/Subject) is Professor of Social Work, Public Policy and Law at New York University where she teaches a course on film and advocacy. As producer, her projects have included The Reality Show: NYU and The Heart of Intimate Abuse, for which she received a Telly Award. Auf Wiedersehen, 'Til We Meet Again is her first feature film and directorial debut. She is the author of numerous articles and books on intimate abuse and trauma. Her work has been published by Basic Books, Princeton University Press and Harvard Law Review. She has been featured in the New York Times Magazine, Los Angeles Times, People, USA Today, Harpers and Queen, and Glamour.
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.