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Israeli city cancels Righteous Gentile doco because subject was gay

TJI Pick
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Published: 31 January 2023

Last updated: 5 March 2024

Residents rebelled when an Israeli city cancelled a screening about a German Jew who saved children in Auschwitz.

The northern Israeli city of Harish cancelled the screening of a Holocaust documentary that was meant to be held in honour of Holocaust Remembrance Day on Thursday night because the film’s subject, Alfred Hirsch, a German Jew who saved children in Auschwitz, was openly gay.

After it became known that it was cancelled due to objections by ultra-Orthodox community leaders in the city, other residents then banded together to stage their own showing of the acclaimed documentary.

The film’s director, Rubi Gat, said the municipality contacted him months ago to organise a screening of his 2017 documentary, Dear Fredy. They had set a location and date — Thursday, January 26, the evening before the start of International Holocaust Remembrance Day — and Gat had even approved promotional materials for the event.

Suddenly, 10 days before the event, the head of Harish’s youth services called Gat and told him they had to call off the event.

During the call, which Gat recorded, she told him that it was because of “a fuss” within the municipality, that there had been “explosions” between different officials in city hall.

She explained that the cancellation of his screening was part of a broad cancellation of LGBTQ-focused events in the city due to opposition from Haredi leaders.

“There’s a crisis about the [LGBTQ] program in general because we’re a mixed city and it’s a new program and a new city,” she told Gat, referring to the secular and religious communities that share the city.

When a Harish resident, Nitzan Avivi, heard about the cancellation, he decided to organise a private screening of the documentary

More than 60 people crammed into ShiraDance, a local dance studio, to watch the film.

An Israeli city nixed an LGBTQ Holocaust documentary showing; residents screened it instead (Times of Israel)

Photo: An image from the film Dear Fredy (promotional image)

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