Here I Learned to Love


A slight but powerful entry in the family-history-as-world-history archives, Here I Learned to Love follows two brothers, now in their seventies and living in Israel, as they retrace their first, tragically eventful years in World War II Europe. Avner Kerem was two and Itzik three when their parents and grandparents were deported to death camps from Krakow, Poland, in 1941. An aunt and then a fellow Bergen-Belsen prisoner helped hide and care for the boys over the four following years. Director Avi Angel participates through narration and is occasionally seen comforting the men as they revisit the farms, apartments, and camps where they lived; the press notes reveal he is Avner’s distant in-law. This might have been useful information: Despite moments of attempted lyricism (some, including a harmonica solo in an old gas chamber, work less well than others), Here I Learned to Love suffers from a certain exclusivity, occasionally playing more like a private record than a public offering. Even so, the dynamic between the brothers—each of whom dealt with the experience in different ways—develops its own sorrowful momentum, and their remembrances of the years that bound and divided them cannot fail to move.

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