The underlying thread, as Arthur and his mom try to regain their footing, seems to be a quintessentially ’60s message: Keep on keepin’ on. It’s not merely for the sake of nostalgia that Granite Falls’ theme is the old Skeeter Davis record The End of the World in which she asks why her eyes keep seeing and heart keeps beating: Don’t they know it’s the end of the world? It ended when you said goodbye ...
Saying goodbye is also the subject of Finding Kalman, a documentary about Aventura Holocaust survivor Anna Jacobs that airs on the 59th anniversary of the World War II uprising of Warsaw Jews against their Nazi tormenters. The revolt was crushed — the Soviet army, waiting nearby, failed to give the Jewish resistance the support it was expecting — and Jacobs’ family, including her 10-year-old brother, Kalman, was swept away in the aftermath.
Finding Kalman contains no tales of derring-do, nor lurid descriptions of Nazi atrocities. Jacobs doesn’t even know, in any real detail, what happened to her family. She and Kalman had escaped the Jewish ghetto and were living in different homes south of Warsaw. One day the Nazis rounded up all the Jews in the area. When Jacobs was released from a concentration camp at the end of the war, all she could find of her relatives was a single photo of Kalman, rescued from a garbage can by a neighbor boy.
Her memories are now as creased and faded as that photo of a little boy who was erased from the world before he had any chance to put a mark on it. All Jacobs can really remember is the pain of loss, a pain that has rippled through four generations of the new family she created in America. One by one they parade before the camera to tell of their fantasies of making their mother (or grandmother, or great-grandmother) whole, of finding Kalman. But he remains nothing but an increasingly hazy face in an old photo.
And still Jacobs cannot let go. “I’m carrying the trauma of my loss,” she says. “I don’t want to forget it. I want to remember as long as I live.” Deniers take note: Not only did the Holocaust happen, it’s still going on.