Oscar-winning director creating animated Holocaust film

Nuremberg prosecutor's life story to be adapted as screen feature.

June 11, 2019 05:45
2 minute read.
Oscar-winning director creating animated Holocaust film

Attorneys Bergold and Aschenauer with Prosecutor Ferencz at the Einsatzgruppen Trial. (photo credit: WIKIMEDIA)


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Two Holocaust-themed films are in the early stages of production from top Hollywood directors.

Michel Hazanavicius, a French-Jewish director who won an Oscar for 2011’s The Artist, has teamed up with StudioCanal for an animated feature film set during the Holocaust, according to Variety. Hazanavicius is set to adapt the novel La Plus Precieuse Des Marchandises by Jean-Claude Grumberg, which translates to “The Most Precious of Merchandise.”

According to StudioCanal, production on the animated movie will begin next year, and the film is slated for theatrical release in 2022. The tale by Grumberg weaves together the stories of a poor family living in the Polish forest who cannot have children, and a Jewish family who were arrested in Paris and deported to Auschwitz. The Jewish father, desperate to save his children, throws one of his newborn twins out of the moving train. The Polish woman, desperate for a child, suddenly discovers the one thing she’s been waiting and hoping for.

“Opposing the force of life to the industry of death, Grumberg’s tale succeeds in finding something beautiful to tell about [a period] that will forever remain a stain on the history of mankind,” said Hazanavicius, according to StudioCanal.

Separately, two filmmakers behind the recent documentary Prosecuting Evil about the last surviving Nuremberg prosecutor, are teaming up again to tell the story in a dramatic adaptation. Barry Avrich and Patrice Theroux, who produced this year’s Prosecuting Evil: The Extraordinary World of Ben Ferencz, have purchased the film and television rights to Ferencz’s story for a scripted project, according to Deadline.

Ferencz, now 99, was the lead prosecutor at the Einsatzgruppen trial, one of the 12 Nuremberg trials. As a 27-year-old lawyer, Ferencz oversaw the conviction of 22 Nazi officials who were tried for operating mobile death squads responsible for murdering more than one million Jewish men, women and children.

“I am honored to take this journey,” said Ferencz, according to Deadline. “I never dreamed as a 27-year-old standing in a Nuremberg courtroom prosecuting Nazis that my life would be the subject of a film. I am now in my hundredth year; let’s get this done!”

Avrich told Deadline that “this is an extraordinary honor to tell the story; one of the most iconic and historic figures of our time. I feel a real responsibility to continue to bring this important story to as many people as we can, this time through a scripted project.”

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