The film draws on a collection of 55,000 testimonies of survivors and witnesses to the Holocaust and other genocidal events that is part of USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive. Many of the interviews were recorded since 1994 with the organization established by Steven Spielberg after his experiences filming Schindler’s List.
The one-hour documentary is part of the foundation’s 25th anniversary commemoration and its Stronger Than Hate Initiative, and is intended to serve as a cautionary reminder of what can happen when hatred remains unchecked, Discovery described.
So, it’s timely.
The project is a “call to action to stand against hate in all forms,” Discovery CEO David Zaslav explained.
“These stories remind us of what can happen when religious, racial and ethnic hatred is unbridled,” he added.
Friendly’s father, the late Fred Friendly, was CBS News president and the creator, with Edward R. Murrow, of the documentary TV series See It Now. Fred Friendly wrote about the horrors he witnessed at Mauthausen, while covering the war as a Master Sergeant in the Army. Portions of Fred Friendly reading his historic “Mauthausen Letter” to his family, and Murrow’s rarely heard radio report from Buchenwald, are included in the documentary.
In 2019, Andy Friendly describes the new documentary as not only “a remembrance of the eyewitnesses to one of mankind’s darkest moments” but also “their enduring final plea…to never stand idly by.
“In the face of the dramatic rise of intolerance around the world, this message is more relevant than ever,” he said.
Liberation Heroes: The Last Eyewitnesses is EP’d by Mickey Shapiro, Andi Gitow and Stephen D. Smith, who noted USC Shoah Foundation has worked with Discovery Communications for more than five years, touching more than half a billion people worldwide.