THE LION OF JUDAH -- despite all of the above -- is how immediate, how necessary and even how rigorous this documentary is, as it tells the story of one Holocaust survivor, Leo Zisman, and how he is spending his final years leading groups of young people (mostly Jews but some not) in and out of various Holocaust landmarks, sharing his own personal history and connecting them with vital knowledge of the century just past.
Matt Mindell (shown at left) to buckle down and fly straight and true toward his goal. He wastes no time bringing us into his Holocaust history, and while some of this has already been told, Zisman's stories are something new. His tales -- including that of the "selection" of his father, his older brother and himself, followed by an order from his dad and the input from two German Shepherds is a rather amazing tale. How this man did what he did -- stood up to the Nazi to their face; ran away, fending off dogs -- and lived to tell about it is pretty extraordinary. (If a tad unbelievable: I sure hope Mindell did his due diligence, as we don't need any more Holocaust deniers screaming, "Told you so!")
Joe Kavitski, a non-Jew who doubles as co-cameraman, editor and co-producer here, notes, "Seeing a Star of David made fun of via the graffiti on a synagogue wall really begs the question: Could all this happen again today?"
Quad Cinema in New York City -- on DVD and via Netflix, iTunes and other major digital platforms.