Lisa Namdar Kaufman

Fredi, Harry, and Yair: A Brotherhood Displaced (Documentary)


Lisa Namdar Kaufman

In 1938, Fredi ‘Yair’ Nomburg was sent to Palestine and his brother Harry, to Scotland. This is the bittersweet tale of their enduring sibling relationship despite the physical distance between them, an ode to the family life that might have been, and an exploration of Yair’s ruptured identity told through a tapestry of simple animation based on Yair’s artwork and accompanied by family photos and interviews with Yair and his family.

About the Director

Lisa Namdar Kaufman is a writer and filmmaker whose award-winning short films have been shown at festivals around the world, from the Cannes International Film Festival to the Hong Kong Jewish Film Festival. She has served as story editor on the documentary film 8000 Paper Clips, wrote the animated feature Baldy Heights (Pitchipoy Productions), and co-wrote the TV drama In the Prime of Her Life which aired on Israel’s public broadcasting station. She teaches at Gotham Writers’ Workshop and has taught at Columbia University and the New York Independent Film Workshop. She holds a BA from Brown University and an MFA in Film from Columbia University.

Director’s Statement

This May, shortly before Yair’s death at the age of 98, Dina Kraft, one of the filmmakers and Yair’s relative and honorary granddaughter, promised Yair on their last visit that she would share the stories and images he had shared with her over the years. He answered, “Well okay, if you think anyone would be interested.”

We believe Yair’s story told through the images he made are not only of interest, but they are of import. They shed light on the deep tear in the lives of families torn apart by the Holocaust. Yair and his brother survived, but the fabric of their lives was tattered, and the ruptured sibling relationship stands in for a rupture of self and identity. When Fredi lost his home, his family, his language, he lost his identity. He becomes someone else – Yair – the illuminator and historian recording and processing the story of Fredi and Harry’s brotherhood and the foreignness he felt in his new home. Throughout his life, he labelled his artwork in three languages, forever navigating a multiplicity of identities.

Yair’s artwork is a gift – a way to share his own story. We want so much to share that story and his vision, especially now, as this generation of survivors passes.  We wish to tell this story as both a tribute and a lesson of what can be lost despite what is saved.