Three Israelis return to the land of their ancestors, confronting the specters of the past and challenges of the present

How to live in a country that tried to kill your grandparents?

© Uri Guy

And can you be friends with someone whose forebears were the executioners? An Austro-German-Israeli co-production, Back to the Fatherland poses these questions and gives gut-wrenching and heartening answers as it follows the directors as well as Israelis Dan and Guy, who decided to move to Austria and Germany, respectively.

It is a momentous decision, moving from a country that was built as a safe haven to the place where the Holocaust was devised and implemented. For their families, the move brings up questions of identity, freedom and responsibility, as well as guilt and reconciliation.

© Uri Guy

It as a deeply human story of how to learn to understand each other – across countries and cultures, but also generations. Filmmakers Kat Rohrer from Austria and Gil Levanon of Israel had a delicate balance to strike: Showing the personal experience of the protagonists – including themselves – in all their individuality, but also embedding their story into a larger conversation on how to cope with the past and look ahead. As Back to the Fatherland demonstrates, the third generation on both sides of the Shoa has some bold, creative and brave answers to offer.


Starts Sept 16, Filmhaus. 7, Spittelberggasse 3.