They have gone to the Moon with the help of Nazis but cannot manage to feed a hungry child
Ben Barenholtz was born on October 5th 1935 in Kovel in what was then Poland to a Jewish family. He spent his childhood in Kupychiv ( Купичів) in Volhynia where his father had been working for a Polish landowner as an administrator, overseeing the works in the forest. After Volhynia had been occupied by German troops and most of his relatives were murdered during the following ethnic cleansing, he managed to take shelter in a forest with his father, mother and brother. There, with the help of a friendly Polish family, he survived the following twenty two months in an underground dugout. His father had been murdered by Ukrainian nationalists, but Ben, as well as his mother and his brother, lived to see the coming of partisans and the Red Army. Then, due to the initiative of the Jewish Agency for Israel, they were transfered to Vienna via Prague, where they managed to get to the American Zone. After spending some time in the DP camp in Bad Gastein they got their United States visa, as Barenholtz’s aunt who had in time managed to escape troubled eastern Europe had been living there. Ben went to a yeshiva in Brooklyn for a short time, but he was mocked due to his Eastern European accent. So he rather transferred to a public school attended mainly by Italian immigrants which he attended for several years. In the early 1950s, he joined the U.S Army and served in Europe for two years, at bases near Munich and Nuremberg. After returning to New York he was granted U.S. citizenship and settled in Greenwich Village where he joined the community of local nonconformists, musicians, writers and painters. In 1966, he started to work with Roger Euster, a notable figure of New York’s theatre and film scene, with whom he had run The Village Theater – later known as the legendary Fillmore East – for two years. After that, he took over The Elgin Theater, a movie theatre in Chelsea, where he had established one of the New York’s nightlife and underground culture centres. In his later years, he also got involved in film distribution, production and directing, working with people like David Lynch, Joel and Ethan Coen, George A. Romero or Darren Aronofsky. He played the part of a zombie in George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. Ben Barenholtz passed away on June 27th 2019 in Prague.