B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation in Albany will present a screening of “Watermarks,” the heartwarming story of the champion women swimmers of the legendary Vienna sports club Hakoah, their survival and their friendship.
“Watermarks” will be shown Saturday, Nov. 17, 7:30 p.m. at B’nai Sholom, 420 Whitehall Road, Albany, New York. Refreshments will be available. Suggested contribution: $5.
Founded in 1909 in response to the notorious Aryan Paragraph, which forbade most Austrian sports clubs from accepting Jewish athletes, Hakoah rapidly grew into one of Europe’s biggest athletic organizations — and its women’s swim team virtually dominated national competitions in the 1930s. “Watermarks” focuses on the stories of the club’s surviving members, while also faithfully recounting a period where prejudice and violence forced these brave women into exile. Sixty-five years after their escape from Austria, seven members of Hakoah’s female swim team reunited for the first time at their old Vienna swimming pool. Told by the swimmers, then in their 80s, “Watermarks” is about a group of young girls with a passion to be the best.
Released in 2004, director Yaron Zilberman’s historical documentary garnered top awards at numerous international film festivals including Paris, Boston, Jerusalem, San Diego and Berlin. The New York Times film critic Stephen Holden wrote that “as ‘Watermarks’ flashes continually back and forth between the women today and pictures of their youthful selves, it is not hard to put yourself in their 1930s shoes and imagine their ordeal.” Writing in The Guardian, Paul Laity called Zilberman’s film “a celebration of resilience – his own tribute, among many, to a generation of Jews that were forced to reshape their lives and remake themselves.”
The 84-minute film is in English, German and Hebrew with English subtitles.
Film and image provided by Kino Lorber.