By Micaela BLITZ
IN NOVEMBER, Chigwell and Hainault United Synagogue hosted a unique film screening with almost 140 people being able to journey to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp without even leaving their seats.
The Triumph of Spirit is a gripping, powerful documentary created using VR (virtual reality) technology giving viewers an immersive 360-degree experience inside the camp.
The hour-long film which was produced by three Israeli-based ultra-Orthodox women and narrated by world-renowned speaker and historian, Israel Goldwasser, shows the power of the human spirit and its ability to not only survive, but to overcome against all odds.
Producer Miriam Cohen was present at the event, the first showing of the film outside of Israel. She explained to the audience that one of the reasons that they wanted to make the film was due her own experience. As a student in the ultra-Orthodox community, whilst many Israelis at 17 visited Auschwitz she was not permitted to do so, and she felt she missed out on this experience. This inspired her as a film maker to create something that would give others the same opportunity to be there.
Rabbi Rafi Goodwin had previously seen the film and was so deeply moved by it that he wanted others to have the opportunity to watch it for themselves. The event was extremely popular, with demand so high that two screenings had to be held allowing almost 140 people to share the experience. He was really pleased with the attendance and the way that the film was received and the inspiring message that it gives.
He said: “Often when people leave after visiting Auschwitz, they can feel distraught and depressed. Amazingly Triumph of the Spirit makes you feel proud to be part of the Jewish people despite all the hardships and persecution. It shines light on the indestructible spirit of every Jew, namely the soul, and tells the story of a rebirth and renewal of our people.”