MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Jackie Arvedon was a senior at the University of Miami when she enrolled in the Holocaust Survivors Internship Program, a partnership with the Jewish Community Services of South Florida.
“It was a two-semester-long class where you signed up and we were paired with a Holocaust survivor that lived in Miami. I signed up and was paired with Fred Mulbauer,” said Arvedon.
Local Miami director Jerry Levine was contacted by the director of the program to make the movie. The result is an hour-long documentary called My Survivor, premiering this week at the Miami Jewish Film Festival.
“We saw an opportunity to do a movie about the lessons of the Holocaust but told through the lens of young people. You’re usually hearing about it from experts, or from the survivors themselves, but what does the next generation think about this? What do young people have to say about what happened and how does that reflect on the world they live in and the world they are inheriting,” asked Levine.
Mulbauer, who is 89 years old, told his story for the film.
“How can I forget my mother, who I saw taken to the gas chamber, my father who was beaten to death. How can I forget that,” he said.
“I could see the emotion in his eyes when he talked about the last time he saw family members, he teared up and I could see raw emotions in his eyes,” said Arvedon.
The documentary was filmed just after the violent clash between white supremacists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville.
“It’s a world the survivors thought they left in the rearview mirror. They thought we were passed all this. Well, are we passed it,” asked Levine.
“What do you want people to get out of this film,” CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo asked Arvedon.
“Awareness, education. I want people to hear these stories from the survivors as well as our experiences with them and always remember the raw emotion you see from these survivors and hopefully pass this down for future generations,” she replied.
As for Arvedon and Mulbauer, their relationship continues.
“‘I’m lucky enough stay in Miami after graduation so I get to see Fred and tell him what’s going on in my life and he’s a very active, almost 90-years-old, so it’s nice to share our lives,” she said.
As the years tick on these brave survivors want to make sure their story stays very much alive.
“This is a great fear of the survivors, once we’re gone and there isn’t testimony, who is going to tell that story. This movie gets into that also. There’s a hopeful message in that story,” said Levine.
My Survivor premieres the Miami Jewish Film Festival Thursday and plays again Sunday. For more information: miamijewishfilmfestival.org.