“Alternately funny, raunchy and sad.” - Indiewire
Gold Will Set You Free (Oro Macht Frei )
Gold Will Set You Free reveals the unique and little-known history of Rome’s Jews during the Holocaust.
Filmmaker Jeffrey Bonna takes us from the silence and inaction of the Pope and the Vatican, to the numerous Jews who were hidden by members of the church; and from the outrageous SS demand that the largely impoverished Jewish Community come up with 50 kilos of gold, to the cash rewards offered for hidden Jews.
Weaving together rare archival footage, testimony from Roman Jews who lived through the period and commentary from historical experts, the film explores the impact of the Nazis on Europe’s oldest Jewish community. Told through the personal testimonies of nine Roman Jews, archival footage, family photos and the contribution of renowned scholars on the subject, this documentary presents the period of Jewish persecution in Italy from the Italian Racial Laws in 1938 through to the Nazi occupation, with particular focus on Kappler’s Gold Extortion which forced Jews to give gold to save lives. The title refers to the words over the gate of Auschwitz I – “Arbeit Macht Frei” (Work will set you free).
70 MIN / ENGLISH, ITALIAN (English subtitles)
DIRECTOR — Jeffrey Bonna