The Embassy of the Czech Republic
March 16, 2011
6:30 pm
Embassy of the Czech Republic
3900 Spring of Freedom St., NW, Washington, DC 20008


Dear Friends of Czech Culture:   
The Embassy of the Czech Republic will screen the documentary film Forgotten Transports to Estonia on March 16, 2011, at 6:30 pm. The film will be introduced by Dr. Peter Black, Senior Historian of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, followed by a discussion with Dr. Black and Ms. Margit Meissner, author of the book Margit΄s Story.

The event is presented in cooperation with the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences, Washington, DC Chapter.

Light refreshments will be served after the screening.

The event is part of the project Democracy and Human Rights: Lessons from the Past for the Current Czech Foreign Policy, organized by the Embassy of the Czech Republic from January through June 2011.

R.S.V.P. to with "Forgotten Transports" in the subject line by March 15
Additional questions: 202/274-9108, e-mail:
Location: Embassy of the Czech Republic, 3900 Spring of Freedom St., NW, Washington, DC 20008

About the film Forgotten Transports to Estonia
The film about Estonia offers a fascinating story of a group of young women and girls who―thanks to their youthful naivety, friendship, mutual help and giving up individual thinking―managed to pass through the camps while remaining oblivious to the genocide around them.

Documentary Series Forgotten Transports When the Holocaust is mentioned, most people recall images of tattooed numbers on forearms, footage of children in striped uniforms in Auschwitz, or Hitler's speeches. Dispelling our notions of a "Holocaust documentary," the Forgotten Transports Series has none of that. Based on 400 hours of interviews recorded in twenty countries on five continents and ten years of work, each of the four films describes one destination of Nazi transports and one unique "mode of survival" in extreme conditions – told, for the first time, by Czech and Central European Jews deported to unknown ghettos and camps in Latvia, Belarus, Estonia, and Poland. Employing no commentary or contemporary footage, only true, time-and-place precise images, the director (political scientist and historian) Lukas Pribyl documents every word of the witnesses utilizing researched visual materials – pictures exchanged for bottles of vodka, found in albums of former SS men, fetched from KGB holdings, or through film fragments selected from over 1600 hours of footage. The people speaking in the films can be seen in images taken almost seventy years ago. From an astonishing story of concentration camp Romeo and Juliet, to that of a man locked up in the same prison three times, always under a different identity, this montage of personal points of view and never seen materials paints a life-affirming picture of survival through luck, wisdom, ingenuity, and sheer will, showing the Holocaust "as we don't know it."

The Forgotten Transports to Poland part of the Forgotten Transports Series received the Czech Lion Award for Best Documentary (2009), the highest film award in the Czech Republic.

More information:

About Lukas Pribyl
Lukas Pribyl (born 1973, Ostrava, Czech Republic) studied politics and Near Eastern studies at Brandeis University and at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, religion and human rights at SIPA at Columbia University in New York, history at Central European University in Budapest and Jewish religion and  philosophy in Sweden. Except for various politics-related projects (particularly in the U.S.), he has published on various aspects of Jewish history and curated exhibitions at the Jewish Museum in Prague. The Forgotten Transports Series is his first film project.

Margit Meissner and Margit΄s Story
Margit's Story is an engrossing autobiography of a remarkable woman born into an assimilated Jewish upper-class in pre-World War II Austria. After a hair-raising escape from the Nazis, she came penniless to the United States. Beginning as a dress finisher, her varied career took her to Hollywood, the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, the American consulates in Budapest, Hungary, and Alexandria, Egypt, and the United Nations in Argentina. She eventually settled in the Washington, DC suburbs where she worked for 20 years for the Montgomery County school system. When she retired, she was saluted as an outstanding advocate for children with disabilities. This candidly told story describes the risk and daring of one woman's triumph over adversity.

Czech Republic and Human Rights
Based on her own historic experience, the Czech Republic holds human rights and democracy very dear. Calling upon the international community to follow suit, the Czech Republic is a staunch advocate of respect for human rights and democracy in various places in the world where these are under threat. The numerous activities in this field, where the Czech Republic is involved, are portrayed in the Embassy´s project "Democracy and Human Rights: Lessons from the Past for the Current Czech Foreign Policy."  The various events put together within this project include exhibitions, conferences, documentary and feature film screenings, and lectures focusing namely on the country's totalitarian past, its current human-rights-promotion priorities and, topically, on the rights of women and children.

Upcoming Events
March 24, 7 pm      Project presentation and discussion: Recording Voices and Documenting Memories: The NCSML's Oral History Project
March 29, 7 pm      Documentary Screening: Tomorrow There Will Be...
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