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Tangled Roots
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familyTangled 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.

For upcoming festivals and screenings, click here.

66 minutes/VHS • Produced and Directed by Heidi Schmidt Emberling


New Day Order Policies

Institutional Purchase: US $199
Community Groups/
Public Libraries:
US $99
Rental: US $75

"Heidi Schmidt Emberling's exploration of identity and the power of labels in her documentary, Tangled Roots, will be of interest to anyone willing to tackle the tough issues of history's legacies, repair and reconciliation, and the power of family ties. This film provides a unique entry point for the most important questions people can ask about who they are and how they see 'the other.'"

Jack Weinstein, Director
SF Bay Area, Facing History and Ourselves

"Very thoughtful and well crafted...the filmmaker struggles to understand her history and in a larger sense the great events of our times. This film is an excellent vehicle for a discussion on the nature of identity and the need for understanding. Recommended."

Library Journal

After showing this film to both Jewish and non-Jewish students of American and German universities, I witnessed passionate debates about religious, national and individual identity. What kind of images and prejudices have the students learned from their parents and grandparents? Tangled Roots shows them why it is important to confront the past.

Björn Krondorfer, PhD, Assoc. Professor of Religious Studies
St. Mary's College of Maryland

"Tangled Roots pivots around the painful effort to break the silence Germans imposed on themselves after the war, as well around the equally painful effort to overcome the demonization of Germany and Germans that infuses much of post-Holocaust American Judaism with a sense of difference. It is really a courageous act of charting territory that has far too long been left uncharted."

Michael Zank, Asst. Professor of Religion, Boston University

"Tangled Roots is a moving film about bi-cultural identity and the challenge of integrating a legacy of historical trauma."

Armand Volkas, Psychotherapist
Director, Healing The Wounds of History

"This is an outstanding film, attempting to bring the filmmaker's dual identity into a unity. There is compassion and respect in the search, and yet the questions raised are most probing. It is an excellent springboard for discussion."

Rabbi Gerald Raiskin
Peninsula Temple Sholom

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

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