LOVE, IT WAS NOT
by Maya Sarfaty
In 1942, Helena Citron was among the first thousand Jewish women to be transported to the Auschwitz concentration camp. There, she soon caught the eye of the Austrian SS officer Franz Wunsch, who fell madly in love with her. Wunsch protected her wherever possible and saved her sister Roza from the jaws of hell, but as an SS officer, there was also a very different side to him. Thirty years after the Second World War, Citron—now living in Israel—is called as a witness at Wunsch’s trial. There, the impossible is asked of her.
The testimonies of now very elderly Auschwitz survivors, older interviews with Citron and her sister, and also with Wunsch, reveal an extraordinary history. A mixture of diary excerpts, archive footage, and animated collage add an extra visual layer to this complex story in shades of gray. A dark chapter of European history is thus reconstructed from varying perspectives, exploring themes such as the survival instinct, the nature of humanity, and coming to terms with trauma.
Hebrew, German, English
Director: Maya Sarfaty
Production: Nir Sa'ar for Pagoda Productions, Kurt Langbein for Langbein & Partner Media GmbH & Co KG
Cinematography: Itay Gross, Ziv Berkovich, Christian Roth
Animation: Ayelet Albenda, Shlomit Gopher
Editing: Sharon Yaish
In association with: yesDocu, ORF, SWR
With the support of: Rabinovich Film Fund, Gesher Multicultural Fund, Avi Chai Foundation, Austrian Film Institute, Vienna Film Fund, Pais Cultural Fund, The Claims Conference
DIRECTOR - MAYA SARFATY
Maya’s diverse body of work combines a deep sense for drama with unique cinematic abilities. She is a graduate of Tel Aviv University’s film department, decorated with Excellency by the dean of the Humanities faculty and graduated from the leading acting school in the country. Her last short film has won a Student Academy Award for BEST FOREIGN DOCUMENTARY in Los Angeles, and other works have been presented worldwide in prominent venues, such as La Biennale di Venezia, Busan International Film Festival, Jerusalem Film Festival and many more.
DOCAVIV 2020 - BEST ISRAELI FILM〡HOT DOCS 2021〡IDFA 2020〡ZAGREBDOX 2021〡ATLANTA JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL 2021〡MIAMI JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL 2021〡VIENNA JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL 2020〡HONG KONG JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL 2021〡JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL BERLIN-BRANDENBURG 2021
"A superbly documented, creatively executed tale... The result of long years of research, “Love It Was Not” is remarkable not only for its unusual central story and unique creative execution, but also for its extensive eyewitness testimonies."
- Alissa Simon, Variety
"Incredible... The storytelling is compelling, and the director wisely homes in on the key targets in a gradual, careful way."
- Vladan Petkovic, Cineuropa
"A uniquely compelling, exhaustively researched documentary that never settles for pat answers."
- Michael Rechtshaffen, Los Angeles Times
"Stunning... with imaginative storytelling."
- Risa Sarachan, Forbes