In Germany today where he received a lifetime achievement award at the Berlin Film Festival, Steven Spielberg made touching reference to the Holocaust and the country’s continuing attempt to face its own past in the name of healing. Introduced by U2 singer/humanitarian Bono, Spielberg’s speech drew an ovation of around a dozen minutes. You can watch above, but to hear his most poignant comments, cue the video to one hour and 54 minutes in.
“This honor has particular meaning for me because I’m a Jewish director,” said Spielberg, referencing his coming of age autobiographical film The Fabelmans for which he’s Oscar nominated. “I’d like to believe that this is a small moment in a much larger, ongoing effort of healing the broken places of history – what Jews call Tikkun Olam, the repairing and restoring of the world.
“I established The Shoah Foundation, because I’m convinced that that what historian Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi wrote is true: The opposite of justice is not injustice. The opposite of justice is forgetting. Reconciliation is possible only when we remember what’s happened. Germany has long been an essential partner in the Shoah Foundation’s work. Private citizens and the German government and the Berlin Film Festival have joined us in gathering and interviewing witnesses, in introducing documentaries, in spreading educational materials, in helping us make our archives widely available in Germany.
“The German people have shown themselves willing to read their country’s history, to confront its lessons regarding antisemitism, bigotry, and xenophobia, harbingers of holocaust,” Spielberg said. “Other countries, including my own, can learn a lot from the courageous determination of the German people to act to prevent fascists from seizing power. A nation can be called just only if it refuses the convenient amnesia that tempts us all. After the 20th Century, maybe no nation should flatter or delude itself that it deserves to be called Just. But we shouldn’t deny the possibility of Justice. We shouldn’t stop pursuing it. That pursuit is our best hope for finding meaning in life. And that it begins with remembering.”
By the way, the GOAT director also said he intended to keep making movies for as long as he is able — his dad lived to 103, so the genes are there — and that he intends to go back to the scarier fare he made earlier in his career. Fans of Duel, Jaws and Poltergeist (which he produced) will surely be cheered by that.
Must Read Stories
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.