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The Star of Holocaust Film ‘Son of Saul’ Was Actually a Kindergarten Teacher

Géza Röhrig

Charlie Rose via Youtube

There’s been a lot of talk about the recent movie “Son of Saul,” which is set during World War II and centers around a Jewish worker at Auschwitz who is trying to find a rabbi to give a child a proper burial. The film has already won or been nominated for a slew of awards: a Golden Globe (which was a first for Hungary), a Grand Prix at Cannes, a Spotlight nomination, and it’s rumored to be nominated for the Oscars. Not so bad. But what’s really amazing is that Géza Röhrig, star of the acclaimed film, has very little experience in the movie/acting business, instead spending his time as a kindergarten teacher.

There’s much more to Röhrig than meets the eye. He is a Hungarian-born poet (a man after my own heart) who was orphaned when he was only 4 years old. He has written a great deal of poetry about the Holocaust, which is why he felt he was so well-suited to play Saul.

READ: As the Granddaughter of Holocaust Survivors, I Can’t Stay Silent About This

As if that isn’t cool enough, he was also part of a punk band in high school, lived in Jerusalem and Paris, studied Polish literature, and then moved to Manhattan’s Upper West side to study at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Currently, he’s working on his first novel, “Dead Bread,” and his wife recently gave birth to twins.

About the Holocaust, 48-year-old Röhrig believes, “that we haven’t learned anything from Auschwitz. The cruelty exhibited there exists today against the Kurds and elsewhere. You have a feeling of insecurity about tomorrow. There’s a level of chaos because global powers do not agree on the most minimal consensus.”

He has also stated that past Holocaust films haven’t been nuanced enough, often perpetuating the naive idea that people are either good or evil, explaining in The Guardian:

 “With movies like Schindler’s List, you have an evil guy and you have a good guy. There’s no such thing. We are all evil and good inside.”

We can’t wait to see how the film does at the Oscars. If you haven’t seen it yet, it may be time to schedule (a rather bleak) movie date with yourself (because me-time as a parent is hard to come by). Check out the trailer below:

 

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