The movie Nana documents director Serena Dykman’s journey with her mother Alice as they retrace her grandmother’s Auschwitz survival story. Born in Poland, Maryla Michalowski-Dyamant survived Ravensbruck, Malchow and Auschwitz – where she was the forced translator for the “Angel of Death,” Josef Mengele. Maryla dedicated her life after the war to publicly speaking about her survival to younger generations. Alice and Serena, daughter and granddaughter, explore how Maryla’s outspoken activism continues today, in a world where survivors are disappearing, and intolerance, racism and anti-Semitism are on the rise.
Nana has been honored with 15 awards on the festival circuit, including the Best Documentary prizes at the St. Louis International Film Festival and the Fargo Film Festival; the Best Biography Award at the Palm Beach International Film Festival; the Silver Palm Award at the Mexico International Film Festival; the Human Spirit Award at the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival; and the Mira Nair Award for Rising Female Filmmaker at the Harlem International Film Festival. In addition, NANA was part of Amnesty International’s traveling Human Rights Film Festival, where it received an Audience Choice award. NANA was chosen by the European Commission and European Jewish Congress to be presented on Holocaust Memorial Day 2018, where Serena participated in a discussion on the future of Holocaust education with the First Vice President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans, and the world-renowned historian and author Simon Schama.
“I was inspired to make this documentary after reading my grandmother’s memoir a couple of years ago,” said director Serana Dykman. “I realized that she was more than a survivor, more than a Polish Jew. The reason she went back to Auschwitz and told her story publicly thousands of times was so that it should never be forgotten, and would never happen to anyone again. Her activism and fight against intolerance lives on today, 14 years after her death, through the thousands of people she touched, and now through Nana.”