Many of the older generations of Europeans are well away of the holocaust or the Shoah as it it often referred to, but there is a younger generation coming through who simply don’t know about it. Therefore the importance of recording its history becomes more and more pressing; especially as there are few survivors left to recount the horrors.
Destination Unknown is a film that does just that. Blending unique and intimate testimony with immersive archive, the film unveils the human stories underlying the events of the Holocaust. These include one of the few escapees from the terror of Treblinka, and an exclusive interview with Mietek Pemper, who helped Oskar Schindler compile his List.
In 2003, following a chance encounter with the son of a Holocaust survivor, Llion Roberts embarked upon a remarkable journey over the next fourteen years. He travelled the world, interviewing and filming Holocaust survivors. Some, like New Jersey resident Ed Mosberg, regularly returned to the camps in order to remember the traumatic events of the war yet others, like Mietek Pemper, who had been the stenographer for the Kraków-Płaszów concentration camp Commandant – Amon Göth and advisor to Oskar Schindler, had before refused to talk on film.
The film traces the narrow paths to survival, whether in hiding, fighting as partisans, or through enduring the camps such as Kraków-Płaszow, Mauthausen and Auschwitz-Birkenau. While a few managed to escape, most had to try to find a way to stay alive until the end of the war.
Their stories do not end with liberation. We see how they had to survive the chaos that came afterwards, and their attempts to build new lives.
We are lucky to have them with us and that they are prepared to share on film what those who managed to survive really went through. Not an easy watch but a remarkable one that reminds us of the enduring spirit of the human will to survive and also go on to live!