As a student rabbi I had the privilege of serving Temple Beth Solomon of the Deaf in the San Fernando Valley of California. Today I received the current newsletter and learned about a new film based on the experiences of a Deaf Holocaust survivor.
Five Needles offers an unusual angle on Shoah history. It tells the story of a small group of Deaf women caught in the Shoah. The survival of any of these women was remarkable, since the Nazis were thorough in murdering anyone (Jewish or not) with a disability. However, some women were able to hide their deafness and still find one another in the camp. A very few of them survived.
You can see the film at BSL Zone, a website of the The British Sign Language Broadcasting Trust (BSLBT). It commissions television programs made in British Sign Language by Deaf people for Deaf people.
The true story behind the film may be found in an issue of the newsletter of the Jewish Deaf Community Center of Los Angeles. If you read the true story, you will see that the filmmaker has combined a couple of different stories. Five Needles is a fictionalized account of the story of real Deaf Jews.
While this film has some rough edges, and I could quibble about some historical details, the story and acting and the mood they evoke are well worth the viewing time.