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The Academy Award-winning documentary about the Holocaust gets a one-day showing in Richmond.

One Day Only for "The Last Days"


Although "The Last Days" won a 1999 Academy Award for best documentary film, it never made it to Richmond theaters. But thanks to the persistence of Miriam Davidow, director of community services for the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond, Richmonders will have a chance to see this film on June 28 at 7:30 p.m. at Regal's Westhampton Theatre, 5706 Grove Ave.

"I called October Films, which distributes the film nationally, and they said that it was not in the Richmond market," Davidow explains. "I kept calling and pushing the issue until they finally agreed to one day."

The film, produced by Steven Spielberg and the Shoah Foundation, is the true story of five Hungarian survivors of the Holocaust. One of the survivors is California Congressman Tom Lantos. The others are Alice Lok Cahana, Renee Firestone, Bill Basch and Irene Zisblatt. The film recalls their childhood experience, war experience, and how they deal with their trauma.

The Hungarian experience is unique because most Hungarian Jews were deported in 1944 only after it became clear that Germany was losing the war.

"This film reminds us we have to be vigilant — especially with the recent horrors in Kosovo," Davidow says.

The Shoah Visual History Foundation was developed in 1994 by Spielberg after the success of his film "Schindler's List" in response to the many Holocaust survivors that wanted their survival stories told.

"The film's testimonies are five of the 50,000 testimonies collected by the Shoah Foundation," Davidow says. The Jewish Community Federation of Richmond collected 30 testimonies from local Holocaust survivors that are part of the 50,000.

"It is incredibly powerful to hear these people tell their stories, and to see how positive they remained," Davidow says. "For all these people to suffer and still to be able to see the good in others is such an inspiration."

Tickets, are available for $10 and are available from the Federation at 5403 Monument Ave. For details, call

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