Friday, September 17, 2010

The rebirth of Jacob "Jack" Garfein

by Alejandra Espasande Bouza

I first met Jack Garfein on May 10 of 1988 at Madrid's Filmoteca Española, originally loated at C/ Princesa 1,  where I had the opportunity to watch "Something Wild" (1957) and "The Strange One" (1961).  Ever since, I have never forgotten the strong impression his films left on me. His films are a unique contribution to American cinema, and his personal experiences, a lesson of endurance and hope.

“Fate has always been unkind to Jack Garfein, but providence has always come to his rescue.” Henry Miller

On May 11, 1946 a fifteen-year-old boy named Jacob Garfein, one of the first holocaust child survivors to arrive in New York, attended a Mother’s Day celebration in honor of Mrs. David M. Levy, Chairman and benefactor of the National Women’s Division of the United Jewish Appeal Drive. The New York Times note read: “Jacob, a red-cheeked, red-headed boy who lost his mother, father and sister in German concentration camps - two of them in a crematorium- and who recalls how he had to help bury fifteen to eighteen corpses a day in Belsen, gave the flowers in a simple tribute of thanks from the Jewish children who are still alive in Europe.”

Before the war, Jacob, best known as actor, stage director and filmmaker, Jack Garfein, had experienced a peaceful childhood in his native Czechoslovakia where he lived with his mother Blanka Spiegel, his father, Zionist leader Herman Garfein, and his little sister Hadasa...

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