A movie director who recently co-directed a film on Chassidic Jews has caused outrage with a statement she made about Chasidic Jews during the Holocaust, the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council (OJPAC) alerted.
Heidi Ewing, a documentary filmmaker who co-directed “One of Us”, a Netflix film documenting stories of former Chasidic Jews who no longer practice Judaism, was a guest on PBS’s The Charlie Rose Show on Saturday.
During the show, Ewing said that Chasidim were murdered in the Holocaust, “partly because they refused to blend in.”
Many criticized the filmmaker on social media, calling her statements ignorant, and questioning the accuracy of her film about Chasidic Jews, which claims to “offer a rare peek into the insular world of ultra-Orthodox Jews through the eyes of three young adults who are struggling to leave it behind.”
“This is outrageous on its face, and ignorant too, as most Jews murdered had long ‘blended in, were not observant and were certainly not Hasidic,” the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council wrote on Twitter. “How can one rely on the accuracy of a film director regarding Chasidim when the director is so wrong on a basic fact about the Holocaust?”
Jay Schneider says the claim is “Revising history to push a false narrative. It’s egregious and disgusting betrayal so she can push her ideology with impunity,” he wrote on Twitter.
Update (Sunday October 22 5:00 pm): Ewing released the following statement earlier this afternoon.
“I am sorry if my words on Charlie Rose caused any pain and would like to clarify their meaning. The devastating losses that the Jewish community suffered at the hands of the Nazis is unspeakable. Almost half the population of world Jewry was destroyed by the Nazis and their collaborators, whole communities destroyed. In the midst of this sweeping genocide, Hasidic Jews suffered disproportionate losses during the Holocaust partially because they were more easily identified and therefore had more difficulty hiding. This has been documented by multiple historians. It took great courage for Hasidic Jews at that time to refuse to change their appearance to look more like the general European public. I am only filled with respect and admiration for any person who chooses to live their own truth.”