The Danube Exodus

Date: 
March 1, 2010 - 18:00 - 20:00
Building: 
Nador u. 9, Faculty Tower
Room: 
Auditorium
Event type: 
Event audience: 
CEU host unit(s): 
Center for Arts and Culture (CAC)
CEU host unit(s): 
Open Society Archives
The Danube Exodus

The Danube Exodus
Directed by Peter Forgacs, 1998, in English, 60 minutes

6:00 p.m. screening of the film

7:15 p.m. Discussion with:

  • Peter Forgacs (Budapest)
  • Dragan Klaic (Department of Public Policy, CEU)
  • Andrea Peto (Department of Gender Studies, CEU)

Peter Forgacs is a media artist and independent filmmaker. He is best-known for his Private Hungary series of award winning films based on home movies from the 1930s and 1960s, which document ordinary lives that were soon to be ruptured by the trauma of the war. His international debut came with the Bartos Family (1988), which was awarded the Grand Prix at the World Wide Video Festival in The Hague. Since then he has received several international festival awards. In 1983, Forgacs established the Private Photo & Film Archives Foundation in Budapest. This unique collection of amateur film footage, housed at the Open Society Archive, is the raw material for his research and his re-orchestrations of history. His most recent films are El Perro Negro (2005) on the Spanish Civil War and Miss Universe (2006) on the 1929 Austrian beauty queen Lisl Goldarbeiter. Forgacs has been exhibiting his video installations in major museums and galleries in Europe.

In the travelogue The Danube Exodus, Forgacs documents the Jewish exodus from Slovakia just before the beginning of World War II. In two boats, a group of nine hundred Slovak, Austrian Jews tried to reach the Black Sea via the river Danube, in order to get to Palestine. Forgács based his film on the amateur films of Captain Nándor Andrásovits, the captain of one of the boats. He filmed his passengers while they prayed, slept and even got married. At the end of this journey, it is clear that the boat will not return empty: a reverse exodus takes place, this time of repatriating Bessarabian Germans, fleeing to the Third Reich because of the Soviet invasion of Bessarabia.

The event is part of the CRC Workshop Testimonies and Teaching: New Sources and Methodologies for Jewish Studies organized by Jewish Studies and the Department of Gender Studies between March 1-5, 2010 at CEU.