Genocide seen through the victim's eyes

Yolanda Papini-Pollock releases documentary that shows genocide through survivor testimony.

Emily Rose ,

Yolanda Papini-Pollock at the premier for her documentary Never Again: A Broken Promise
Yolanda Papini-Pollock at the premier for her documentary Never Again: A Broken Promise
Courtesy of Yolanda Papini Pollock

Israeli-Canadian Filmmaker Yolanda Papini-Pollock recently released a new documentary which describes genocide through the testimony of genocide victims.

Never Again: A Broken Promise is a documentary that details the experience of four victims of genocide through personal testimony. The film's executive producer, Yolanda Papini-Pollock, wrote the script and Rogers Ofime directed it.

The documentary is jarring as it examines the accounts of genocide survivors. Although the Yazidi Genocide is the central focus, the film also examines the Holocaust, the Rwandan Genocide and the Residential Schools System in Canada that brutally attempted to assimilate native children for over a century. These heart wrenching accounts are paired with interviews of local scholars.

The documentary also issues a call to action, urging viewers to raise their voices against oppression stating that we each have a responsibility to make a difference, especially when innocent people face injustice.

“I have been involved with the Yazidi community for a while,” Winnipeg Filmmaker Yolanda Papini-Pollock told Arutz Sheva, “I am a co-founder of Winnipeg Friends of Israel which initiated Operation Ezra to sponsor Yazidi refugees to Winnipeg.”

“We raised funds needed to bring 4-5 families (120K) before JCFS and the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg took it over and expanded the program. Some of the Yazidi photos I saw were so similar to photos of the Holocaust. The resemblance between the Yazidis and the Jews prior to the establishment of the state of Israel made me look for more similarities with other types of genocide,” Papini-Pollock said.

Papini-Pollock said she, “wanted to show that genocides follow similar patterns and if the world recognizes them, it may be able to do something to change the devastating outcomes.”

Papini-Pollock’s experience as an Israeli Jew inspired her to make the documentary.

“As an Israeli, a Jew and a daughter of a Holocaust survivor,” she told Arutz Sheva, “I inherited part of the trauma shared by so many Israelis and Jewish people around the world. The fear that something catastrophic could happen to us if we do not stand on guard was instilled in me from a very young age. I was only 8 when the Yom Kippur war broke out and the fear of a second Holocaust was discussed and felt throughout the country.”

“The fear that 'Never Again' is only a phrase and bad things could happen and the knowledge that most people and countries are indifferent, had a profound influence on the way I look at the world. I want the phrase to mean something not only for Jews but also for other persecuted people and I will do what I can to prevent, help or ease the experience for those people.”

Winnipeg is also home of the recently constructed Canadian Museum for Human Rights which opened in September of 2014. Never Again: A Broken Promise premiered in Winnipeg, Manitoba on Sept. 26.