THE SURVIVOR is based on the memories of Harry Haft, as told to his son, Alan. Harry (Ben Foster) was a boxer who survived the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. He was considered the Pride of Poland.

This film is not easy to watch. It shares some of the back-story that Harry was forced to do to survive. It showcased his tragic losses, his PTSD, his anger, grief, nightmares, and desire to find some measure of peace. It begs the question of what anyone of us would choose to do to “stay alive for “one more day” under horrific conditions. 

The director, Barry Levinson, created an understated story. The flashback scenes were black and white. They were stark, snippets of moments most would want to forget. CGI was not used for Harry’s body in the prison camp. It was harsh and brutal. What helped was witnessing his journey after the war and being surrounded by an amazing, talented ensemble such as: Danny DeVito, John Leguizamo, Peter Sarsgaard, Billy Magnussen, and Vicky Krieps. Bravo.  

THE SURVIVOR is one of many stories that must be seen so we “never forget” the atrocities humankind can inflict and endure. It is as timeless today with the war in Ukraine. Why does one powerful country believe it is their job to destroy another? When will humanity learn some of history’s most potent lessons? My heart is sad for all survivors. What scars they hold deep within…

THE SURVIVOR is available to stream on HBO/MAX. 

Esta Rosevear

Esta Rosevear has been a Theatre Arts teacher and director for 35+ years, published Children’s author of the Rebecca series, and is passionate about playing her violin, walking, gardening, and reading murder mysteries.

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