By Firouzeh Nabavi
The Iranian-born journalist Sarah Gharib has just released a documentary about the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum — the monument built on the site of the Nazi concentration and extermination camp in Poland. “Why We Work At Auschwitz” focuses on the educators, museum administrators and other professionals who work there, many of whom are descendants of Holocaust victims.
The documentary has been released on Gharib’s YouTube channel this week to coincide with Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January. It is a day to remember the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust, and the millions of people killed under Nazi persecution of other groups. The date was designated by the United Nations in 2005. It marks the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, the largest of the Nazi death camps, in 1945.
Gharib, 24, was born in Tehran and moved to the UK at age 3 with her parents and older brother. She studied TV production at Ravensbourne University in London, simultaneously working on live British television entertainment shows.
Gharib and her filmmaker friend Aaron Compton teamed up a few years ago to make a documentary about the Holocaust, but one that approached it “from a different angle.”
“Aaron had visited Auschwitz in 2011, and he remembered that the great-grandfather of the educator who conducted the tour was a prisoner at Auschwitz,” Gharib said.
Further research revealed that “the reason some people work at the Auschwitz Memorial and Museum today is because they are descendants of people who were prisoners or affected by the Holocaust in some way.”
“They work there as they want to keep this dark history alive,” Gharib explained, “and hope that educating the public will help avoid future atrocities from happening.”
The documentary was directed by Compton, and the director of photography was Davy Pinnuk. The three-person team behind the film hope it will inspire viewers to visit the Auschwitz memorial themselves.
Gharib has also worked on the Free Nazanin campaign, which is dedicated to securing the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British-Iranian who has been detained in Iran for nearly six years. Her campaigning has included taking photographs for a digital billboard, producing cover art for the single ‘Naz Don’t Cry,’ and writing an article for the BBC.