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The writer Jacques Chessex was an eight-year-old boy in 1942 in the Swiss village of Payerne when he witnessed events, as detailed in his controversial novella, A Jew Must Die, that would change him forever.
Popular myth has it that Switzerland remained an innocent island amidst the horrors of World War II. What we see in Jacques Berger's decisive film - and what Chessex saw as a boy - repudiates this. In Payerne, a cadre of Nazi sympathisers singled out a Jewish scapegoat, a wealthy livestock dealer, to serve as an ‘example’ in honour of Hitler's birthday.
More than a simple recreation of an historical atrocity, this powerful film boldly conflates past and present; suggesting that the two are, and always will be, dangerously intertwined.
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