The Story Of Lina Amato


Filmmaker, Johnathan Andrews, presents the true story of Lina Amato, one of the few remaining survivors of the Holocaust now residing in Cape Town, South Africa.

Running time: 48 Minutes
Includes: 4 Additional Scenes

SKU: docU_001 Category:


The Story Of Lina AmatoABOUT THE FILM

Filmmaker, Johnathan Andrews, presents the true story of Lina Kantor (Amato), one of the few remaining survivors of the Holocaust now residing in Cape Town, South Africa.

This extraordinary documentary film explores the rare account of how the interventions of the Turkish Consul-General on Rhodes Island in Greece, Selahattin Ülkümen, saved 42 Jews from deportation by the Nazis to Auschwitz during July 1944 - World War II.

Lina speaks from the heart as she guides viewers through the history of her time spent on Rhodes Island as a child, and how her family was saved through the efforts of Selahattin Ülkümen. Yad Vashem ultimately recognised him as “Righteous Among The Nations” in 1989.

The Story Of Lina Amato is an honest and unforgettable story in commemoration of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day - 27 January.

Lina Kantor (Amato) - Holocaust survivor.
Richard Freedman - Director of the South African Holocaust & Genocide Foundation.
Elif Çomoglu Ülgen - Turkish Ambassador in South Africa (2017).

Mehmet Ülkümen... Son of Selahattin Ülkümen.
Girolamo & Bianca Sotgiu... Amato family friends.
Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Turkish Embassy in Pretoria.
Cape Town Holocaust Centre.

48 minutes

3 reviews for The Story Of Lina Amato

  1. Robyn Sassen

    Film Review by Robyn Sassen

    The consul, the child, his conscience, her piano

    WHAT IS THE worst thing that can happen to a story about an historical atrocity? That it can be shunned? That it can be told too infrequently? That no one wants to experience it? None of these: the worst thing that can happen to a tale of atrocity is that it is told and retold and retold until its fire is dimmed by commonplace. Film maker Johnathan Andrews steps with sensitive wisdom around these pitfalls, to create something timeless and haunting in just 48 minutes.

    Using direct personal interviews, with Lina Amato, the woman herself, who as an eight-year-old, knew that her life was being saved by the Turkish consul of the time, The Story of Holocaust Survivor Lina Amato contains no visual clichés of mass destruction or concentration camps. It has no voiceover, explaining the nature of the work, and attempting to frame and curate your response to it. There are no easy cues to weep. Rather, in a similar filmic understanding as that propagated by Claude Lanzmann in his immense and iconic extrapolation of the Holocaust, a over 10-hour-long documentary called Shoah (1985), Andrews offers his viewers insight into the intricacies and the horror of Lina Amato’s true story.

    Currently resident in Cape Town, Amato is today a woman in her 80s. She speaks of the cultural wealth of her life in Rhodes Island, off the Turkish coastline where she was born in 1936. It’s a story that features interjections by SA Holocaust and Genocide Foundation director, Richard Freedman, which offers clear facts that give you context: War was approaching with a cloak of hatred that was to envelop even the smallest of little children.

    But under that pall of destruction, enormous empathy was allowed to bubble and manifest in ways that a peaceful society could not contain. Lina tells of her parents’ Italian neighbours who adopted her and taught her to ‘be’ Christian in order to save her life. She tells of the decisions taken by the Turkish consol, Selahattin Ülkümen in 1944 to save whichever Jewish lives he could and of how an island “bathed in sunshine” and home to a tiny community of 3 800 Jews turned into a nightmare of uncertainty. Above all, it is the tough silences in her story that speak more deeply.

    Further to this, music is threaded through the tale. Lina’s mother was a piano teacher, and her struggle to save her pianos is potent and legendary, making you think of Sophie’s Choice in the unforgettable story by William Styron. And this, together with a beautifully placed spot of Chopin – by way of his Prelude in A — hooks the film to the Mozart Festival’s focus.

    It’s an absolutely beautiful piece of film, which, lasting but 48 minutes, offers a rich and deep understanding of the power of hate, but also the power of love in a world that has lost its moral compass. Further to all of this, the intelligent editorial decisions informing this film present understandings of the psychological effects of trauma, abandonment and guilt that are devastatingly potent in their understated handling.

    The Story of Holocaust Survivor Lina Amato is directed by Johnathan Andrews and features Holocaust survivor Lina Kantor (Amato), SA Holocaust and Genocide Foundation Director Richard Freedman and Turkish Ambassador in South Africa Elif Çomoğlu Ülgen. Produced by (assistant) Angela Kate Jones, it features the sound engineering of Garrick Jones.

    It will be screened in Johannesburg on January 27 2018 at the Space Frame Theatre, Education Campus, University of the Witwatersrand, in Parktown Johannesburg. Tickets are free of charge, but seating in the space is limited.

    The DVD will be on sale at the screening, which is part of the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival, and commemorates International Holocaust Remembrance day, January 27.

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    Browse to the blog The Arts At Large By Robyn Sassen

  2. Wayne Newton

    First and foremost Mr. Johnathan Andrews, THANK YOU for the opportunity you afforded me, as one of the very first people in history, privileged enough to watch this heart wrenching, yet exultant account of the unbelievable life of Ms. Lina Kantor Amato.

    I take cognisance of the fact that my modest commentary will not do justice to the time, effort, and enthusiasm you have dedicated to recording these historical events, by using the medium of film making.

    The film takes one on a roller coaster ride, from ideology to selfish laws, from peace to war, from carefree innocence to confusion; from toys to bomb shells; from pain to trauma; from sacrifice to adoption, from suffering to triumph, from death camps to freedom, from time constraints to liberty, from selfless actions to gratitude, and from heroism to immortality.

    During the opening credits, I was overwhelmed by a sense of profound emotion, because of my own experiences of discrimination. Furthermore, I often ponder over which of the prejudices we human beings practise, like colour, creed, or class, to name a few, are worse than the other. These questions in turn completely captivated my eagerness and interest to watch this documentary.

    I am humbled as I learn, how the actions of a few brave Souls, who were part of Ms. Amato’s and other Holocaust Survivors life’s more than 70 years ago, would steadfastly move through history, and presently resonate with me, as I am sure it will with others.

    I will most certainly take a leaf from the books of these real life heroes, because, despite their personal tragedies, their unwavering bravery allowed them to not just stand tall against tyranny, but they took a stand for humanity. Their actions were driven by something more than fame, fortune, status, media exposure, or political favour, and will forever echo through eternity.

    Mr. Wayne P. Newton
    Member & COO
    CDK Coaching Academy & Recruitment (Pty) Ltd

  3. Simon Bruinders

    Voice-Over Transcript

    “I watched The Story of Lina Amato created by filmmaker Johnathan Andrews. The story really gripped me. I didn’t realise how long the Germans carried on with this absolute devastation of the Jewish nation. In my book where I touched on the Second World War, I could not mention the Holocaust because I was writing about 1943, and the Holocaust was not news to the world then, it was not known or just ignored.

    When you hear the story about Rhodes Island that was so far away from where everything really happened and the fact that they went all the way there, to take the Jews to destroy them, it is just mind boggling!

    The film is an important story to tell because, especially in our country, so many Jews ended up all over South Africa and brought so much to the economy of the country.

    For fifty years the National Government (who was in charge of getting the history books written), were supporters of the Germans. So, the WWII story was never extensively written about and there was almost nothing about the Holocaust and that is why I feel this is such an important story – with a real person.

    Sometimes we wait too long to tell these stories and then people die, but here Johnathan managed to get hold of Lina who has survived, then, and has still survived all these years. It is great and it’s an important story. I’m very grateful that it gets the attention it deserves because it resonates – if you think of the people who did not write the history of this country, they were the oppressors, and what one could almost see in the way that Apartheid went down here, is why they were siding with the Germans. Because it was also a sort of ethnic cleansing. You were not white, you were not part of the “Herrenvolk” in South Africa and we as people who were not part of that “volk” – we got that devastation. Not in this way, as there wasn’t an Auschwitz, but there were little pockets of destruction all over the country.

    It is a very important story. I believe that it’s a story we as South Africans should know, because what Madiba said was: “never, never and never again.” This also resonates in my view with the Jewish story of the Holocaust. There wasn’t just one oppression, there wasn’t just one oppressed nation, man seems to oppress other people all the time and it never stops. So, congratulations Johnathan I think it is a very important documentary film.”

    Simon Bruinders
    Author, Actor and Apprentice Historian.

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