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Last night, a full house were the first to see Gaylen Ross' documentary Killing Kartszner.  It was a film that brought forth the story of Dr. Israel Kartszner, who many considered a hero yet many others considered him a traitor for having negotiated with the Nazis to save the lives of over 1600 Jews in 1944; the largest number of Jews saved during that time.

The film was emotionally gripping; I heard people sobbing.  It was interesting to see the interview Ross did with the man who shot Kartszner, Ze'ev Eckstein.  As well as, his meeting with Kartszner's daughter, Zsuzsi (pictured right with Ross) and granddaugthers. Two of many parts of the film that had the audience's full attention.  Kartszner's family is still fighting to have his name cleared and have people hear his story.  As Merav, one of Karszner's granddaughters said, "it's overwhelming.  This never ends." 

The film raised the question of what makes someone a hero; especially in Jewish culture.  Ross said "the story of Katszner is a story of tragedy.  It's an epic story.  There will be many stories that will keep revealing the layers of history.  The story needs to be told."  She continued, we need to know why and who we ask to be our heroes and what we ask them to do in return.   In the case of Kartszner, he chose to have a dialogue with the enemy rather than fight against them with guns.  During World War II, "there were distinctions about what you did during the war and what you didn't do... There was a special problem with Jews because if you saved one Jew, you didn't save enough" said Ross. 

A few members of the audience thanked Ross for "informing us" and also thanked the Kartszner family for being here to share the film.  This was also the first time they had seen it.  After years of filming, the end result is a great history lesson for many.