Director: Boris Maftsir / Israel 2019

Production: Zvi Shefy – Productions, produced for Kan the Israeli Public Broadcast Corporation (IPBC)
Supported by The Gesher Multicultural Film Fund and The Avi Chai Foundation, Israel.

Graphics and Animation: Studio Jewboy (Yaron Shin)

Category: History, Shoah, Animation

Language: English, Russian, Hebrew.

Subtitles: English

Length: 70 minutes

In 1947, “The Black Book”, a collection of testimonies and articles about the Holocaust in the Soviet Union was to be published in Moscow, but it was banned by the Russian authorities. Why did Stalin decide to hide the solid and documented evidence of the Holocaust in the Soviet Union?

Famous Soviet Writer Ilya Ehrenburg initiated and gathered comprehensive information about the Holocaust in the Soviet Union. It was named ”The Black Book”. In October 1947, the book was to be published in Moscow – a collection of testimonies and articles about the murder of 2.7 Million Jews under Nazi occupation in the Soviet Union. The book was shelved by the authorities, as if the  Holocaust of Soviet Jews had never occurred at all. Why did Stalin decide to hide the solid and documented evidence of the Holocaust in the Soviet Union? Did Soviet Jewry’s enthusiasm on the establishment of the State of Israel cause collective punishment against them by the government? Since the revolution, Soviet Jews had been considered loyal partners in the building and administration of the Soviet Union. Why and how did they become suspects of dual loyalty, potential traitors, second class citizens?

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Festivals & Awards:

Director's statement:
The Fifth World Holocaust Forum that took place in Jerusalem in January 2020 to mark the International Holocaust Remembrance Day was the first declaration by the President of the Russian Federation about the sacrifice of Soviet Jews.
For decades, since the "Black Book" in 1947, the truth has been hidden from public knowledge. Only after the disintegration of the Soviet Union was it possible to begin documenting and commemorating murder sites in cities, towns and villages throughout Ukraine, Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Belarus and Estonia. More than 1,000 cities and villages have been added to the Holocaust Memorial Map. Half of Soviet Jews were murdered in the Holocaust. Those who were fortunate to have suffered state antisemitism throughout the Soviet regime, severely compromising Jewish culture and identity. Hiding the "Black Book" was the first step of the repressions of Jewish culture by Soviet authorities - and of the Jewish identity of Soviet Jews. The circumstances surrounding the concealment of information about the Holocaust in the Soviet Union remained unclear and left many questions open.
This film presents, for the first time, the hypothesis that the ban on publication of the "Black Book" was a planned stage in the removal of Soviet Jews from leading positions in Soviet society and the change of status of Jews in the Soviet Union. The film, based on the story of a single book, becomes the first attempt to understand and explain the destruction of Soviet Jewish culture - and the fate of the Jews of the Soviet Union after the war - a cry for historical justice and reflects the memory of the Jewry murdered during WWII in the Soviet Union.
We have chosen an innovative and original cinematic style - combining interviews with historians and archival materials, and special graphics and animation.

Movie Reviews: 
* « Boris Maftsir’s new film examines the story of the Black Book, which, if it had been published, would have changed for all of us the way we perceive the Holocaust, modern antisemitism and Jewish life in the Soviet Union. The Mystery Of The Black Book / The Together Plan 
* « Based on a black book, never published during the Soviet period, on the murder of Jews across the then territory of the USSR, this is a poignant, oppressive reflection on the role played by the Jewish people during Stalinism that also stands out stylistically. » Kino Fermished - The Mystery of the Black Book / JFBB
* « This film packs a fascinating, sophisticated and nuanced understanding of this complex history into its seventy minutes.  An excellent educational resource. Highly Recommended. »
Programming recommendations / David Shem-Tov / Jewish Film Review