“Destination Unknown,” which took 14 years to shoot and produce, finally opens in UK theaters June 16. The film inter-cuts recent and archival footage in an in-depth examination of what happened to “twelve survivors, twelve families torn apart by the Holocaust, twelve people striving to build a new future after the war.”
In 2003, following a chance encounter with the son of a Holocaust survivor, producer Llion Roberts embarked upon a remarkable journey. Over the next fourteen years he traveled 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. Others, like Mietek Pemper, who had been the stenographer for the Kraków-Płaszów concentration camp Commandant Amon Göth and advisor to Oskar Schindler, had previously refused to talk on film.
Gradually, a picture emerged of survivors who had each experienced a different horror but who all shared the seemingly impossible task of living with the memory.
In 2014, director & editor Claire Ferguson started to work with Roberts on a feature-length account of the survivors’ stories. The result of the entire fourteen year process is “Destination Unknown.”
“What came across to me as unique and fresh was how do you live with pain? How do you have a life after such atrocity?” director Claire Ferguson told Reuters.
Blending unique and intimate testimony with immersed archival footage, the film unveils the human stories underlying the events of the Holocaust.
The film traces the narrow paths to survival, whether in hiding, fighting as partisans, or through enduring the camps – 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.