Rumbula’s Echo opens with the filmmaker’s search for his newborn’s namesake in late 19th century Eastern Europe.
Rumbula’s Echo opens with the filmmaker’s search for his newborn’s namesake in late 19th century Eastern Europe. Viewers see the Jewish community’s vibrant life. The story progresses to 1941, the Holocaust, and mass shootings at Riga’s Rumbula Forest.
Nazi intelligence chief Canaris asks Adolf Hitler to stop the mass shooting at Rumbula. The Führer replies, “I have to do it, because after me no one else will do it.” In two days, Nazis and Latvian collaborators shoot 25,000 women, elderly men, and children there inside mass graves.
Several thousand Riga ghetto residents are kept as workers and are not shot at Rumbula. They try to survive, continue to be murdered, resist, escape, hide with righteous gentiles, and are joined by Jewish deportees from the west.
Mass shootings in cities, Dvinsk and Liepaja, and in more than 50 shtetls, kill nearly all of the other Jews in the country.
In the 1960s, young Riga activists mark Rumbula’s mass graves and commemorate the massacre, helping give birth to the Refusenik movement. In modern times, the filmmaker’s genealogy research that opened the film results in a surprise.
About the Director
Mitchell Lieber is a documentary filmmaker, journalist, and Holocaust researcher. He is also an award-winning management consultant.
Fifteen work-in-progress screenings of his forthcoming documentary, Rumbula’s Echo, drew wide praise. He has made three related shorts and earlier launched the web portal Rumbula.org.
Lieber started as a producer and host of news reports, music programs, interviews, and documentaries on the radio in Chicago, where critic Ray Townley called his This Is a Test “the most culturally satisfying program on the air.” At WNIB-FM, among notable interviews and documentaries, he produced the acclaimed That Moon Rocket Busted That Cloud, featuring reactions to snow during a huge Chicago snowstorm.
As a consultant, Lieber obtained a major FCC power increase for Chicago’s WNIB-FM and guided licensing of KKFI-FM as a new 100 KW public radio station in Kansas City. He was an incorporator and early officer of the National Federation of Community Broadcasters.
Jason Kliot and Beth Sternheimer
Principal Sound Recordist