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How Much to Remember: One Family's Conversation with History (2007)

"How Much to Remember" is a 56 minute film which has screened extensively on PBS stations, in community centers, and in classrooms.

The film addresses one family’s very personal experience of the Holocaust and the complex legacy that is passed on from one generation to the next. Fifty years after their communities were destroyed, Celia and Morris Elbaum, elderly Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, make a return trip to Poland. They bring with them their children, grandchildren, and a fierce need to share the past—a past they had previously sought to hide.


"How Much to Remember" documents this family journey. The trip to Poland is a catalyst. It triggers long buried feelings and memories in the survivors. It also exposes their children to their parents’ personal recollections and to physical reminders of a tragedy almost too great to comprehend.

As we watch the Elbaum family traverse a landscape filled with memories and wartime landmarks, viewers of the film come to inhabit the legacy of the Holocaust as seen from the vantage point of three distinct generations.

How Much to Remember: One Family's Conversation with History (2007)

  • Duration: 56 minutes

    Directed by Nina Koocher

  • Where to Rent/Buy

  • Critic Reviews

    "One can’t help but be moved by the Elbaums’ contrasting reactions to the places where they met and married compared to those where they watched relatives and friends perish… How Much to Remember has a strong emotional impact. Recommended."

    — F. Swietek, Video Librarian


    "Although Celia and Morris Elbaum’s stories alone could serve as a documentary—they provide stirring commentary in vivid detail—this intimate film is unique in presenting the perspectives and reactions of three generations."

    — Elliot Mandel, Booklist



    "I hadn’t before felt how much the Holocaust affects subsequent generations, but your film provided a whole new context for me. This was a revelation."

    — Barbara Levering, Towson, MD, PBS Viewer


    "This film touched me in ways I have never before experienced."

    — Sandy Briggs, Artist



    “The quality of the images and the stillness of the narration stand in contrast to the tumult of the stories of those returning to the scene. In the opening scene the monarchs bring home how close to the surface the memories of Auschwitz are and how fragile existence was for everyone there.


    The film’s strength is how it portrays ordinary people caught up in an incomprehensible horror. Their drive to locate, to find out what had happened to their loved ones and fellow townspeople and to commemorate them speaks to a human need that touches us all.”

    — Carol Wolff, Senior Teacher, Hebrew University of Jerusalem



    "I watched this film expecting a retelling of memories and experiences by survivors. I have watched many such films, however, this was different for me. The intimacy of the telling and the pain and sorrow after all these years was so touching. The reaction by the survivors children and grandchildren shows how history influences us in so many ways. This film touched me in ways I have never before experienced. Worth watching and worth spending your time thinking about its lessons.


    "How Much to Remember explores the imperative of memory and the human drive to reclaim the past, no matter how brutal or tragic. The trip to Poland is a catalyst. It triggers long buried feelings and memories in the survivors. How Much to Remember speaks to a collective grief and a universal human ability to overcome and persevere. How Much to Remember is accessible to a wider audience than many works that deal with the Holocaust.


    "It is the survivors’ story, as they themselves tell it to their children and grandchildren. It is by its very nature tailored for younger generations to hear. No atrocities are depicted. Tell your friends!"

    — Ann Simonton, Media Watch

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