Two Trees in Jerusalem is the second part of Humanity in Action’s new animated documentary film trilogy TRACES-Portraits of Resistance, Survival and Resolve. It is based on a book of the same name by Humanity in Action Germany’s Honorary Chair Cornelia Schmalz-Jacobsen.
Two Trees in Jerusalem, an animated documentary produced by Humanity in Action, profiles the remarkable history of Eberhard and Donata Helmrich, who together saved the lives of countless Jews during the Holocaust. The pair worked as a husband-and-wife team in the eye of the storm, in Berlin and the blood-soaked fields of Eastern Europe, devising ever-more daring gambits to save any life they could, even as death surrounded them.
The history is dramatically narrated by the couple’s daughter Cornelia, who was called into her parents’ confidence as a young child, and was imbued with an inner-strength that guided her work decades later as a journalist, politician and as the Federal Comissioner for Foreigner’s Affairs.
By moving back and forth in time, the animated documentary reveals how experiences in Cornelia’s childhood impact her subsequent fight for migrants’ rights in her role as the Federal Commissioner for immigrant and refugee issues during the 1990’s.
As we push deeper into the 21st century, humanity faces an inflection point; the last survivors and witnesses of the Holocaust and the Second World War leave us, taking with them the first-hand memories of one of humanity’s darkest chapters. It is incumbent upon us to safeguard their histories and lessons learned at such tremendous expense. Two Trees in Jerusalem preserves this critical story for future generations.
Two Trees in Jerusalem is available in English and in German, both narrated by Cornelia Schmalz-Jacobsen. Subtitles are available in English, Hebrew, Polish, Ukrainian, Russian and Lithuanian.
Watch Two Trees in Jerusalem online
Two Trees in Jerusalem premiered on January 14, 2022 at the Miami Jewish Film Festival, the largest Jewish film festival in the world. It has since been selected for the American Documentary And Animation Film Festival, the Copenhagen Jewish Film Festival, the Ann Arbor Jewish Film Festival, the Inconvenient Films Festival Vilnius and the Austin Jewish Film Festival.
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Two Trees in Jerusalem was made with the generous support of the Alfred Landecker Foundation.
"In dealing with the Holocaust, new formats and ways of telling stories must be found. The films in the series 'Traces: Portraits of Resistance, Survival and Resolve' not only carry the memory into the digital realm, but also build much-needed bridges to current social challenges. The films contribute to the necessary update of the culture of remembrance.”
Steffen Jost, Program Director, Alfred Landecker Foundation