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The Birch Grove


Location shooting for the film Der kleine Birkenhain (The Birch Grove) has been underway at the site of the Birkenau camp for almost a fortnight. It is the story of a former Auschwitz prisoner who undertakes a journey, decades after the war, into her traumatic past. One of the places she returns to is Birkenau, to which, at the age of fourteen, the Nazis deported her from the Drancy, France camp in April, 1944, because she was Jewish.

This autobiographical narrative is directed by Holocaust survivor Marceline Loridan-Ivens (see the biographical note below), for whom it represents an attempt to confront the "demons" of her past. In the film, Marceline Loridan is played by the French actress Anouk Aimée, best known for her role in Claude Lelouch's 1966 "A Man and a Woman"

Der kleine Birkenhain is a German-French co-production.

The Director:

Marceline Loridan-Ivens is known not only as a director, but also for her collaboration, until his death in 1989, with her husband, Joris Ivens, regarded as one of the world's foremost documentary filmmakers. Ivens made more than fifty films, including such familiar titles as The Spanish Earth, his 1937 chronicle of the Spanish Civil War, and The 400 Million, his 1939 portrayal of the Chinese struggle for freedom after the Japanese invasion of Manchuria.

Marceline Loridan-Ivens accompanied her husband to China in 1988 and worked with him there on his last film, Tale of the Wind, a metaphorical attempt to capture the invisible element that symbolizes unceasing change in culture and society.

Marceline Loridan-Ivens during filming at the site of the men's quarantine camp.