After 45 years, Hugo Gryn returns to his hometown, Berehovo (Beregszasz), in the foothills of the Carpathian mountains—closed to visitors from the West until recent years. It is a glimpse of a time when half the town was Jewish and evokes the world of Hugo’s childhood. But that world has all but vanished, leaving only ghosts and shadows.
In 1944, at the age of 13, Hugo Gryn was deported to Auschwitz, along with his family and 15,000 other Jews from Berehovo. Miraculously, Hugo survived two death marches and nearly a year working for the Nazis as a slave labourer. After the war, he came to Britain with a group of child survivors, trained as a rabbi and went on to lead a distinguished career.
Chasing Shadows follows Hugo’s return to his childhood home, evoking bygone Berehovo with the help of rare, pre-war archive footage.
The film is not so much a lament as a celebration of the beauty and intensity of Jewish life in this all but forgotten household in the Family of Israel.
Produced & Directed by Naomi Gryn, 1990. 52 minutes.
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See Leaving Berehovo