|Through hours of videotape, Aaron Herskowitz’s son Howard captured the horror and triumph of his father’s extraordinary life during and after World War II. A gifted storyteller who frequently impersonated his captors and friends, Aaron Herskowitz’s genuine and captivating delivery, modest personality and the telling of both heroic and horrific acts enraptures his audience. Much of the filming was done during a family trip, when Aaron was 75 years old, to Eastern Europe and Bilke, the site of Aaron’s family farm. In these clips, Aaron describes his survival and the deep questioning of his faith. In a pivotal scene, Aaron wonders how his friend Sax became a monster of revenge. He recounts the killing of a Nazi soldier who’d planned to murder|
him; Aaron denounces the rabbis who failed their people; finally, he illustrates his survival during the Russian bombings that wiped out his comrades and captors. From these videos, plus interviews and historical research, Howard Herskowitz wrote his father’s story.
The video, "We Had Too Much Power!", tells the story of Aaron and Sax as the masters of Gerjen, a captured enemy town, in 1944. They had virtually unlimited power as Russian-sponsored rulers, and they took their revenge. But Sax goes too far, brutally torturing and killing Germans hiding or spying in the town. At first, Aaron participates but then he begins to question their actions. His loyalty to Sax and their friendship is jeopardized.
Howard gesturing instructions while editing a video of his father, Aaron.
Aaron and equine friends 1980s.
|"Why did God abandon the Jews?" In one of the most emotional passages of the story, Aaron condemns those orthodox rabbis of Europe, who quashed his efforts to resist, and refused emigration to Palestine. After a Russian bombing of the Axis positions which massacred all his fellow Jewish slaves, Aaron gave up on God, just as God had given up on the Jews.|
|In "It's Time For A Kill!" Aaron knows he must take action, after surreptitiously overhearing a Nazi SS officer confide to a comrade about Aaron: "That Jew has been getting fat enough, it’s time for a kill!" The Nazis didn't realize that Aaron understood German.
“Escape from the Nazis and Hungarians.” In a classic exciting adventure, Aaron realizes he has no choice but to escape from his Nazi captors and join the Russian Army.