by Hedi Charde
This year the annual Holocaust Observance event in April took on a different format in lieu of a speaker, featuring instead the documentary film Exile and Community: The Life of Carola Domar. This powerful film recounts the story of Carola Domar, a late Concord resident who escaped from Germany as a teen and later settled in Canada, before eventually settling in Concord. Domar’s daughter, Alice, and Susan Orleans Rieder, the film’s writer and director, were in attendance for the film as well as the question and answer period that followed.
The oral history project features dialogue from Carola Domar herself, as well as her daughter, Alice. It chronicles a young Jewish girl’s experience in Nazi Germany and her eventual escape to Canada. Woven together thoughtfully, the film illustrates Domar’s search for community, which she eventually finds in her neighborhood community of Conantum in Concord. Told mostly from a young person’s perspective, it tells a story of hardship, loss, compassion and, eventually, forgiveness. Rieder says she feels this film is very relevant today and hopes that it can be used for educational purposes in school curriculums.
Domar, who passed away from breast cancer in 2004, believed she was lucky. Towards the end of the film she says, “I was born, survived, had children and grandchildren. I have been very lucky.”