JUNE ZERO sheds light on the execution of Adolf Eichmann from a perspective that, though it doesn't always make it into the history books, says a lot about Israeli society in terms of the latter’s diversity and contradictions. The Eichmann trial is widely considered to be a turning point in Israeli history, the moment when society began to come to terms with the trauma of the Shoah and the rigid focus on state-building eased somewhat. And yet Israeli society was and is not only made up of only Ashkenazi Jews of European descent. What significance does this great trauma of Jewish history have for Jews of non-European origin?
This feature film, directed by Jake Paltrow, depicts three personal, paradigmatic fates behind one historic event: 13-year-old David occasionally commits petty theft and finds himself bullied at school, as a Sephardic migrant from Libya, by his Ashkenazi teacher. His host country, Israel, is in a state of emergency: the trial of Adolf Eichmann, the architect of the mass extermination of Jews during World War II, is drawing to a close and being broadcast on the radio across the country. The Moroccan Jew Hayim, one of Eichmann's guards, has to ensure the safety of the accused; and ensure that none of the other guards are Ashkenazi to prevent revenge attacks. Micha, in contrast, took part in Eichmann's interrogations. He is a survivor of the Shoah and tells a group of tourists in Poland about his awful experiences of the ghetto.
Text: Kira Taszman
English: Peter Rickerby