999: The Forgotten Girls

  • Heather Dune Macadam
  • US
  • 2023
  • 90

In 1942 the first women were deported to Auschwitz. They were 999 Jewish women from Slovakia. Employing a mixture of drawings created in the camp, film scenes, photographs, archive recordings and interviews with contemporary witnesses, this documentary evolves into a chronicle of the mass murder in Auschwitz - narrated from a female perspective.

Based on her book “999 – The Extraordinary Young Women of the First Official Jewish Transport to Auschwitz”, author and director Heather Dune Macadam tells the story of Edith Grossmann and other women who were deported to Auschwitz in 1942. At the time, the Slovak government under President Tiso was collaborating with Nazi Germany, with the latter claiming to want to settle all deported Jews in newly occupied Poland with the purpose of putting them to work. The train journey ended in Auschwitz, however. With the help of interviews with contemporary witnesses, accumulated over a period of 30 years, the film paints a picture of life in the camp. In their accounts the women speak of harassment, hunger and violence, at times of a sexual nature, that they experienced as female camp inmates. The result is a chronicle of the Auschwitz and Birkenau camps, the evolution of the war and the effects thereof on the treatment of the camp inmates, the death march and, finally, the liberation of the few survivors. Alongside the accounts of the inhumane and deadly living conditions, the women also recall moments of solidarity and revolt, how some planned acts of sabotage, how they helped and saved one another and tried to retain hope.

Text: Charlotte Kühn
English: Peter Rickerby

Following the screenings on 21.6. at Bundesplatz Kino and 23.6. at Thalia Babelsberg there will be a Q&A with the director Heather Dune Macadam.
Additionally, on 21.6., Stephen Hopkins, DOP und Associate Producer will be present.

999 - THE FORGOTTEN GIRLS is part of the educational programme of JFBB. Contact: Charlotte Kühn


original title 999: The Forgotten Girls

international title 999: The Forgotten Girls

german title 999: The Forgotten Girls


  • director Heather Dune Macadam

country/countries US

year 2023

duration 90

Portrait of Heather Dune Macadam

Heather Dune Macadam

BIO Heather Dune Macadam has spent over 20 years researching and interviewing families, witnesses, and survivors of the first official transport to Auschwitz. Her internationally acclaimed book 999 (published in 2020) has been translated into 18 languages and was a Pen Finalist in 2021. Macadam’s first book Rena’s Promise, co-written with Holocaust survivor #1716 Rena Kornreich Gelissen is required reading in history classes around the world. In 2011, Macadam founded Rena’s Promise Foundation, in the hopes of helping create a more ecumenical world unhindered by prejudice, racism, or hatred. Macadam’s work discovering lost girls and young women of the Holocaust has been recognized by Yad Vashem in the UK, the National Museum of Jewish History in Slovakia, and the Memorial Museum of Auschwitz in Poland. A former professor, she has taught journalism, and creative nonfiction for over 20 years. This is her directorial debut.