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Holocaust film gets secret screening in Gaza, leaving director fearing for his life

It was deemed too dangerous for Jakov Sedlar to attend the showing 

Jess Denham
Tuesday 04 October 2016 10:21 BST
Anne Frank pictured in 1940
Anne Frank pictured in 1940 (Rex)

A controversial documentary about Anne Frank and the Holocaust has been given a clandestine screening in Gaza.

Holocaust denial is rife among the Hamas leaders who rule the self-governing Palestinian territory and much of the film’s footage was shot there during its war with Israel two years ago.

Tight security was called in for the scheduled showing of Anne Frank: Then and Now last Thursday, which was moved to a new location last minute “due to safety reasons and out of fear that those organising it would face accusations and judgement”. Just 42 people knew the time and place.

Hamas officials have branded the Holocaust “the big lie” despite the equally powerful President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority describing it as “the most heinous crime to have occurred against humanity in the modern era”. As such, it was deemed “too dangerous” for Croatian director Jakov Sedler to attend the screening, Deadline reports.

The documentary, also shown in secret in Iran a month ago, follows the lives of eight Palestinian girls and two Israelis as they audition to play the role of young Jewish World War II diarist Anne Frank.

Many people living in the Arab world are Holocaust deniers, but Sedlar hoped to change their opinions by bringing Frank’s story to them in Arabic with English subtitles. The 2014 war broke out during shooting, making the resulting film all the more hard-hitting and powerfully ironic.

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