The Kozalchic Affair



Philadelphia Premiere
Wendesday, November 16
Har Zion Temple, Penn Valley, PA

Director: Ron Ninio
Genre: Documentary Feature
Country: Israel and Poland
Year: 2015
Running Time: 53 min
Language: Hebrew with English subtitles

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Itzak Shaked, the son of two Holocaust survivors, lived an average life in Israel as an industrialist, until learning the true identity of his father, Yakov Kozalchic.

Known as “The Warden of the Death Block,” Yakov was a Jewish Kapo in Auschwitz who sacrificed his life to save as many of his fellow brethren as he could. His story begins in Poland, but truly takes off in the 1920s when Yakov is found working alongside Al Capone and the infamous German heavyweight Max Schmeling in New York City. From joining the circus as a musician to returning home to start a family in Poland, Yakov seemed to have lived an outrageously full life before seeing it torn apart by the Nazis. Separated from his wife and children, who were imprisoned in Treblinka, Yakov was sent to Auschwitz, where he managed to save himself from the gas chambers through his connections. However, he was unable to escape his placement as Jewish Kapo of Block 11. While carrying out Nazi orders, that if defied were punishable by death, Yakov used the little bit of independence and access he had to benefit his fellow prisoners and save as many Jews and Poles as possible.

Now 68-year-old Itzak embarks on an unforgettable journey to recover his father’s past and meet the people whose lives Yakov changed forever.

Sponsor: Har Zion Temple

[Screened with AND THEN, VIOLENCE]

Film Trailer: 

Subjects: Children of Holocaust survivors, family history, heroism, Holocaust, kapo, navigating grief, Nazis, Poland, sacrifice, suicide, victimhood, WWII

For Fans of: Family dramas, heroism, Holocaust documentaries, psychological films

Community Partners:

anti-defamation-league the-collaborative consortium-of-holocaust-educators-logo-300x451 the-david-project
har-zion-temple interfaithfamily-philadelphia philadelphia-jewish-voice pkm-polish-folk-dance-ensemble


University of Pennsylvania Holocaust Education Committee