2000, 52.5 Minutes
Chatzkel Lemchen has lived through the Russian revolution, two world wars, the Holocaust, a communist regime and the transition of Lithuania from Soviet republic to an independent state. Much of his family and most of his fellow Jewish citizens were killed by the Nazis and their Lithuanian supporters. Chatzkel, however, survived through his skills as a linguist and lexicographer. His dictionaries helped preserve the local language during the Soviet era and he is now regarded as a national treasure. But his success belies his sometimes lonely existence. Years of isolation end when his Australian relatives arrive, including his great nephew, filmmaker Rod Freedman. Who better than Uncle Chatzkel to help these visitors understand their roots?
A Film Australian National Interest Program produced in association with Robe Productions and SBS Independent. Developed with the assistance of the NSW Film and Television Office. © 2011 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia, Robe Productions
Level: Secondary, Tertiary, Lifelong Learning
Subject areas: Jewish history, Holocaust studies, religious and faith studies, English (specifically "History and Memory" in 2 Unit English elective for NSW HSC).
Uncle Chatzkel Notes (Acrobat PDF Document, 593Kb)