Berenshtein is about the last of the great partisans, who located Hitler’s “wonder weapon”, returns to the war that took away his feelings and identity, but failed to rob him of his values as a human being.
In an old house in the modest neighborhood of Kiryat Ata, neighbors did not imagine that the old man who lives next door is the last living commander of a partisan battalion in World War II.
He is the man who located the secret facility where the Germans developed their last hope for victory – the V2 missiles. In his confession, Berenshtein returns to the past and reveals the sights that accompany his whole life – women and children burned before his eyes, partisans he executed, his brilliant war tactics, the love of his life which he relinquished, his encounter with the Holocaust and the moment he chose to refuse an order, break into a German prison and release Jews sentenced to death. In the last moments of his life, he faces the decisions he made and recounts how he found not only Hitler’s doomsday weapon, but himself.
About the Director
Director Roman Shumunov grew up in the USSR and was educated on respect and admiration for the heroes of World War II. When he immigrated to Israel, he was surprised to find that the issue was not on the public agenda and Jews who fought in the Red Army were pushed into a corner of the Israeli Pantheon. When he met Leonid Berenshtein, he knew immediately that he must perpetuate his story and bring it to the wide Israeli audience.
My name is Roman Shumunov, I grew up in Georgia, former USSR and was educated on respect and admiration for the veterans of World War II. My both grandfathers were on the battlefields of that terrific war.
On the age of 17, I immigrated to Israel and I was surprised to find that the issue was not on the public agenda and Jews who fought against Nazi machine were pushed into a corner of the Israeli Pantheon.
Few years ago I met Leonid Berenshtein, in his humble 1 bedroom flat. The man who changes the outcome of the ww2 no one knew. When I learned his incredible and unique story, I realized that a huge opportunity opened up for me and I just must perpetuate his story and bring it to the wide Israeli and world audience. The sense of alienation felt by the films hero in wartime is not foreign to me –I immigrated to Israel alone and had to deal with difficult identity questions and dilemmas. Therefore I chose to focus not on the heroic operations and heroic actions performed by the partisan, but on his inner experience, in the moments when his moral and identity values were put to the test.
I have created a fabric of memory strings, leading to the past but revealing processes that take place in our time as well. Using a subtle combination of fiction and documentary genres, this story leads viewers on an exciting journey into the depths of his soul of a Jewish partisan, who hides his identity but preserves his values – even in the darkest days of human history.
Ronen Machlis Balzam
Sound Designer & Re-Recording Mixer
1st Assistant Director