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There Was Once…

Friday, September 23 - Thursday, September 29, 2011

Gabor Kalman’s documentary feature THERE WAS ONCE… tells the inspiring story of Gyöngyi Mago, a Hungarian Catholic high school teacher striving to chart a new course of tolerance in her conflict-ridden hometown, Kalocsa, Hungary. While looking for a subject for her dissertation, she discovers a forgotten part of local history: the Jewish community that once thrived but is now non-existent in her city.

Engaging her students in her research, she teaches tolerance and battles prejudice in her classroom. Her quest is set against a backdrop of renewed racial tensions, growing intolerance, and the alarming rise of neo-Nazism in modern-day Hungary. To commemorate the 65th anniversary of liquidation of the local ghetto and deportation of the Jews to Auschwitz and other camps, she organizes an emotional memorial service, attended by survivors and their relatives, along with students, city officials, and the Archbishop. At the same time, a neo-Nazi protest takes place nearby.