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March 2nd, 2013 8:07 PM

Left on the Cutting Room Floor of 'The Gatekeepers'

On February 28th, 2013, Dror Moreh, director of the Oscar-nominated documentary 'The Gatekeepers,' spoke with Dave Davies of NPR's Fresh Air about what he wasn't able to include in the film due to time constraints:

DAVE DAVIES: I know that you talked to these gentlemen a long time, and there must've been some painful decisions about what you could include and didn't. Can you tell us something that was kind of painful to leave out that you wish you'd gotten in?

DROR MOREH: You know, you mentioned the story of Avraham Shalom, comparing the Israeli army to the German army in the Second World War. And one of the most painful decisions for me to make was to cut out the life story, the beginning of their life, of those heads of Shin Bet, and especially the story of Avraham Shalom, who was born in Vienna in 1930, didn't know that he's a Jew until the minister in his religious class told him: You have to go out. You are a Jew. You're not Catholic.

DAVE DAVIES: He didn't know it was a Jew?

DROR MOREH: He didn't know that he was a Jew. And then when Hitler came to power, he said that he was, as a young boy, he followed the moves of the Wehrmacht with great interest, because he was interested in armies. And with the Germans' Anschluss, you know, the unification of Germany and Austria, he went to Vienna, to that square where Hitler gave the speech. He saw him with his eyes. He said that he was a demagogue.

And then after the Kristallnacht, the day of the Germans burned books and dismantled or - I don't know - ruined a lot of synagogues all over Germany and Austria, his mother forced him to go to school. He was beaten almost to death by his classmates, friends of him. He felt firsthand what it means to be a Jew in a racist regime. He felt what it is to be a Jew when people, his friends, the parents of his friends told, in front of him, don't go with this boy, because he's Jew. He's inferior than us.

And when he compares the Israeli army occupying the West Bank now to the German occupation, he comes from firsthand knowing that. And this was something that, I think if I would've kept that in, it would've given his statement at the end of the movie much more power.

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