‘Watermarks’ captures poignant piece of Jewish, Holocaust history
It’s Women’s History Month, and the film “Watermarks” tell the extraordinary true story about champion women swimmers of the legendary Jewish sports club, Hakoah Vienna.
Told by the swimmers, now in their 80s, “Watermarks” is about a group of young girls with a passion to be the best. It is the saga of seven outstanding athletes who still swim daily as they age with grace.
Hakoah (“Strength” in Hebrew) was founded in 1909 after a law was passed forbidding the admission of Jews to Austrian sports clubs. Until then, Austrian-Jewish culture had produced many world-class intellectuals and artists, such as Freud and Mahler, but no athletes of note. An astonishing success, Hakoah grew to be one of Europe’s biggest athletic clubs. In the 1930s, Hakoah’s best-known triumphs came from its women swimmers, who dominated national competitions in Austria. When the Nazis shut down the club in 1938, the swimmers managed to flee the country.
Sixty-five years later, director Yaron Zilberman met the members of the women’s swim team in their homes around the world and arranged for them to reunite at their old swimming pool in Vienna. This reunion journey, captured for posterity in the film, evoked poignant memories of their youth and strengthened lifelong bonds.
To quote New York Times movie reviewer Stephen Holden: “As these women tell their stories in a tone of wonderment, “Watermarks” becomes more than a pointed footnote to the Holocaust. It emerges as a surprisingly encouraging reflection on the distance between youth and advanced age. Despite their physical frailty, the spirit of these women, many of them honored professionals in a variety of fields, remains intact, and their joy at reconnecting outweighs their uneasiness at returning to the homeland that rejected them.”
Viewers are invited to purchase refreshments and stay for a facilitated discussion afterwards. All proceeds go to the Peace Center.
KNOW & GO
WHAT: Peace Center Film Forum presents a special Women’s History Month showing of “Watermarks”
WHEN: Peace Center Film Forum presents a special Women’s History Month showing of “Watermarks”
WHERE: Peace Center at The Center for the Arts Annex, upstairs, 316 W Main St., Grass Valley
ADMISSION: Donation of $4 to $20 (no one is turned away for lack of funds)
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