The Melbourne Holocaust Museum (MHM), in partnership with the Goethe-Institut and Sevenpeaks Films, is proud to announce a special film screening of Dreyfus Drei, a poignant documentary written, directed and produced by Sydney based artist Ella Dreyfus and co-directed and co-produced by Berlin-based Janis Westphal.

Dreyfus Drei explores the profound journey of Ella Dreyfus as she delves into her late father’s Holocaust experiences and extends into a journey across generations and continents. The 30-minute documentary is a testament to the power of art and dialogue in confronting and healing inherited traumas. Through interviews, visits to familial homes in Melbourne and Sydney, and the construction of public art installations in Germany, the film presents a touching family portrait spanning three generations. It features music by George Dreyfus and new arrangements by Jonathan Dreyfus, Tori Newberry and Amy Anderson, adding a unique auditory depth to the narrative. It stands as a testament to the resilience of identity and the transformative power of confronting inherited traumas.

Dreyfus Drei is not only a documentary but a dialogue across time, inviting viewers to reflect on the impact of history on personal identity and the arts as a medium for understanding and reconciliation. The film was made possible through the support of the Dreyfus Family, Goethe-Institut, Sevenpeaks Films, and was commissioned by the 1700 Years of Jewish Life in Germany Festival 2021, funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM).

Ella Dreyfus explains: “My German-born uncle George Dreyfus is 93 years old and lives in Melbourne. When he dies, the final door will close on our family’s history, and of how he and his brother, my father Richard, were fortunate to escape Nazi Germany by Kindertransport in 1939 and begin new lives in Australia. Richard turned his back on Germany, yet embraced Jewish communal life, whilst George, who retained his childhood passion for music, reclaimed and retained his German identity and culture. As the daughter of someone who did not wear the label ‘Holocaust survivor’ or speak of this past, I was kept in the dark for decades, unsure of my relationship to Germany. My yearning to know more about the Dreyfus’s origins, combined with an artistic curiosity, lead me on a journey of remembrance, return and renewal of Jewish life. In Germany I experience the transformative power of art to shift perceptions, and my aim through this film is to open up a dialogue for subsequent generations to confront their inherited traumas and reclaim our Jewish lives in Germany.”

Following the film, MHM CEO, Dr Simon Holloway will engage in a thought-provoking conversation with Ella Dreyfus. Attendees are encouraged to participate in the discussion, posing questions and sharing reflections. Additionally, guests are invited to visit the museum’s permanent exhibition, “Everybody Had a Name,” a poignant reminder of the individual lives touched by historical events.

Film Screening – Dreyfus Drei
7 April 2024, 1pm
Melbourne Holocaust Museum
13 Selwyn St, Elsternwick

The Melbourne Holocaust Museum (MHM) officially launched in November 2023, with the permanent exhibition Everybody Had a Name, a uniquely Melbourne perspective of the six million lives lost during the Holocaust, memorialised through individual stories. More than just an award-winning museum and education centre, it also houses an incredible collection of eyewitness testimonies, historical documents and artefacts from the Holocaust, available to be explored. This significant opening marked the culmination of a 10-year design and planning exercise and more than a four-year construction phase. The building has already received an architecture award for its outstanding design by Kerstin Thompson Architects.