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Tangled Roots
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Today's headlines show that 57 years after the end of World War II, neither Germans nor Jews have found a way to make peace with the past. Billions of dollars in reparation monies are being paid by powerful German companies to Jewish organizations representing families killed in the Holocaust.

Many Jewish people argue that the reparations are not enough. Many Germans argue that no amount of money will ever satisfy the demands of the Jewish community.

In Germany in the year 2000, Jewish cemeteries are still desecrated, neo-Nazi incidents still occur, and plans for the nation's first Holocaust Museum in Berlin are still not realized.

It is difficult for Jewish people to move beyond their fear and hatred of Nazi-era Germany. They have still not found a way to embrace the new generation of Germans who are trying to chart a path for Germany's future while bearing the burden of their past.

young filmmakerTangled Roots is a unique film that contributes to a vision of peace for both Germans and Jews. It offers a way for people to look at the complexities of the past by following one woman's story as she struggles to reconcile her dual identity as both a German (father's side) and a Jew (mother's side).

Through intimate interviews with both her Jewish relatives in America and her German Lutheran relatives abroad, she discovers a rich family tapestry spanning three continents, shaped by war, courage, prejudice, and fear. Their history becomes hers, strengthening the viewer's connection to both families' very different efforts to honor and remember the past without allowing it to imprison their future.

As we enter the new millennium and the global community continues to expand and diversify, we must continue to focus on what connects us rather than what divides us. This film brings engaging political and social issues into the forefront, challenging viewers to judge people as individuals, rather than members of a certain "group."

We must listen when people say: although my family is German, I am not a Nazi. Although my family is Serbian, I do not hate Kosovo Albanians. Although my family is Hutu, I do not kill Tutsis. Although my family is South African, I believe in the equality of black and white.

weddingTangled Roots gives a personal voice to a rarely-heard minority, a generation of German children branded forever by their parent's actions during the war. The film also gives an original voice to the countless Jewish friends and family changed forever by the horrors of the Holocaust.

There has never been a film that explores the lives of the first generation of Germans to grow up in the aftermath of World War II in Germany. It is an important topic in the ongoing dialogue between the Jewish and German communities.

Tangled Roots
also speaks directly to anyone interested in exploring their own cultural heritage and cultural baggage. In every group and every family, there are people to be proud of and people who fill you with shame.

The filmmaker's story and the moral dilemma from which she must free herself compel viewers to see beyond the politics of war and the climate of hate by honoring and learning from the past in order to contribute to a more compassionate future.

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ph: (650) 576-7035 • e-mail: heidi@spiritproductions.org

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