Maggie Astor’s article in yesterday’s New York Times—”Holocaust is Fading from Memory, Survey Finds”– is a searing example of how Tiger Within only continues to grow more relevant each day.
The article discusses a survey released on Thursday, on Holocaust Remembrance day, which found that 41 percent of Americans– and 66 percent of millennials—“cannot say what Auschwitz was.” It concluded that “many adults lack basic knowledge of what happened” in the Holocaust, most severely millennials, whom the survey defined as people aged 18-34.
In Tiger Within, a young millennial, Casey, escapes a broken home and flees to LA. She— like 66 percent of her peers— doesn’t know what the Holocaust is, exactly. She’s heard of Hitler, but she’s fuzzy on the details. She wears a denim jacket with a swastika painted on it, though she isn’t entirely sure what it represents. To Casey, it is merely a generic symbol of hate.
Samuel, a Holocaust survivor, is laying flowers on his wife’s grave when he discovers Casey sleeping in her jacket in the cemetery. Her ignorance is his greatest fear, and his instinct is to have her evicted from the premises. But he hears his wife’s voice in his ear and does the unthinkable—he invites her to breakfast.
“The themes of this film are universal, but they ring particularly true today,” said Rafal Zielinski, the director of Tiger Within. Although Gina Wendkos wrote Tiger Within almost twenty years ago, the story is more relevant now than when she began.
Tiger Within is about learning from the lessons of the Holocaust. It’s about fighting ignorance and fear with empathy and forgiveness. “It’s a beautiful message that needs to be told,” said Zielinski, “and the time to tell it is right now.”