Saul & Ruby’s Holocaust Survivor Band
Director: Tod Lending | 80 min | 2019 | Poland, United States
“We want to play for the six million people that perished.”
— Saul Dreier
94-year old drummer Saul Dreier and 90-year-old accordionist Ruby Sosnowicz are Holocaust survivors, retirees in Florida, and possess an insatiable lust for life.
Oscar nominee and Emmy winner Tod Lending filmed the two men over four years, beginning when they'd just formed The Holocaust Survivor Band. Their dream was to perform in Poland, the homeland where they'd endured unimaginable trauma.
Their mission is to spread a message of world peace at a time when anti-Semitism and prejudice are growing throughout the world. By sharing their music and stories, they have learned that they are also healing their own wounds while revealing their resilience.
By his own admission, when Tod started filming he had no idea when and if a story might emerge – which is quite a risk to take with a couple of octogenarians. But, with characters as strong as Saul and Ruby, there was always going to be a story, and a good one.
The Holocaust Survivor Band spent its early days playing in residential homes for the elderly and small Jewish community organisations, growing an audience and a reputation, then beginning to tour the country. Of course, they eventually embark on their trip to Poland. To play at Auschwitz.
“We want to play there for the six million people that perished,” Saul says. “We want to play there for our parents.”
This unique and compelling story is about having the courage to live one’s dreams, finding purpose and meaning in life, the transcendent power of music, the complex experience of ageing, surviving trauma, the power of love and family, and speaking out against anti-Semitism and bigotry.
We are with Saul and Ruby every step of the way as they find joy, healing and comfort through music while confronting the past, and boldly facing the mortality of their existence today.
Prepare to laugh. And to cry.
Previous festival selections include:
Miami Jewish Film Festival, winner: Grand Jury Prize
Atlanta Jewish Film Festival