Director Waheed Alqawasmi delivers an engaging short documentary portrait of the struggles Holocaust survivors endured when they moved to Memphis, TN after being liberated from Nazi concentration camps.
Starting over in a whole new country with nothing, these tales of assimilation, sacrifice and humiliation underscore a side of one of history’s greatest tragedies which frequently goes unnoticed. What do people go through when coming out of such unbelievable horror? What do they need to do to begin a life again? The losses of family and friends to the evil of genocide become compounded when trained professionals are forced into menial positions and even begging in order to buy food and pay the rent.
Tales of local communities coming together to help these unfortunate refugees are tempered by the racial upheaval of the day. Living in the Jim Crow South of the 50’s and 60’s, many survivors could not believe that the “land of the free” was engaging in such a chillingly familiar form of racial bigotry.
Ultimately, Lives Restarted offers a glimpse into the triumphal nature of these courageous people, reminding the audience of a common thread running through both the European Jewish and American Dream experiences which are not considered often enough.