Written and Directed by Eva Ziemsen
Running Time: 5:00 min.
DV/Hi8 / 2013/ Canada/Germany

YAHRZEIT is a short film commemorating Rosa Schensowsky-Szmuk, the filmmaker’s grandmother, and holocaust survivor. The film takes the audience on a walk through The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin, and interweaves audio of Rosa, who recounts her experiences during the war and tells of the only moment of happiness in her life.

Yahrzeit is literally translated as “time of (one) year,” during which,
in Jewish tradition, we commemorate the death of a loved one. In
watching the film, we do a collective Yahrzeit.

Director: Eva Ziemsen
Subject: Rosa Schensowsky
Editor: Cort Bremner
Sound Editing and Mixing: Aaron Koning
Music by Beethoven
Music performed by: Ari Posner

Online San Francisco Jewish Film Festival 2014
Female Eye Film Festival 2013

Programmer Notes

Eva Ziemsen’s haunting, elegiac Yahrzeit is at once a personal tribute to the filmmaker’s grandmother (Rosa Schensowsky-Szmuk, a survivor of the Holocaust) and a profound meditation on memory and history. Presenting the film from a first-person perspective, Ziemsen recreates her experience of walking through the vast Memorial to the Murdered Jews in Berlin, and of the sentiments and questions that are conjured up as she engages with this charged historical space. As Ziemsen wanders with her camera, the images of the Memorial become more personal, etched with the questions she can never ask nor have answered; finally, they completely give way to her grandmother in an artful statement on how we find connection to the past through our personal associations. Ziemsen does not enforce a conventional narrative structure upon her experience, and the film ends with many questions unanswered. In its refusal to impose closure, <em “mso-bidi-font-style:=”” normal”=””>Yahrzeit becomes a reflection of Ziemsen’s understanding that the past is too momentous to ever be fully explained or understood. – Jocelyn Geddie