WASHINGTON – Sir Ben Kingsley, the Academy Award-winning actor who stars in the new film Operation Finale, told PJM that another Holocaust will come from a “very surprising place.”
Kingsley, who won an Oscar for Gandhi, plays Adolf Eichmann, one of the key architects of the Holocaust, in Operation Finale, which tells the story of Nazi hunters finding and capturing Eichmann in 1960.
Kingsley recently warned that downplaying the humanity of Holocaust victims puts the world at risk of genocide happening again.
“If we dismiss them in a sort of capsule, an aberration of history, saying ‘well, they weren’t really human, so they don’t count,’ then we’re really letting history off the hook and we are in grave danger of allowing it to happen again,” Kingsley said during a recent interview.
PJM asked Kingsley why he is concerned about another Holocaust.
“I’ll tell you who told me it might happen – that it probably could happen again: that’s Simon Wiesenthal and Elie Wiesel, have both said that openly and publicly. So it is not for me to voice that concern. What do I know?” Kingsley said at the Washington premiere of Operation Finale on Wednesday evening at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
“I’m just an actor but they are the voice of the Holocaust, and if those men are saying that then we better sit up and listen. And I’m not saying it’s going to come from Europe. I’m not saying it’s going to come from any part of the world that we think it’s going to come from. It’s not. It’s going to come from a very surprising place,” he added.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, more anti-Semitic incidents were recorded in 2017 inside the U.S. than any year since 1994.
“What do you attribute that to?” Kingsley was asked.
“I find anti-Semitism after the Holocaust absolutely baffling and unbelievable,” Kingsley replied. “I have to quote Elie Wiesel when I was last with him. He shared with us the fact that he had been talking to God and, after the Holocaust, he asked God, what more do you want? That’s all I can say. What more do you want?”
Matthew Orton, who wrote the Operation Finale screenplay, explained the message he would like the Washington audience to take away from the film.
“I would love for people to think long and hard about the face of evil. I’d love for people to see this film and question what evil looks like,” he said. “Question what evil can hide behind. Yeah. Question institutions and people who present themselves as benevolent, heroic, important, but who are in fact, not, or evil.”
Director Chris Weitz was asked if there is a course of action he would like to see from the Washington audience after they view the movie.
“Obviously, this can’t help, but in some ways be a film about the Holocaust, although it’s set in 1960, it’s actually about how nations pick themselves up after catastrophes like that,” he told PJM. “What I would like people to take away from it is that the very short-term gains to be made from utilizing ethnic hatreds to gain power actually have a long-term disaster at the end of it, which is what happened to Germany and not only its victims but also its perpetrators.”
Actor Lior Raz said many people could use Holocaust education.
“It’s a movie that everyone should see because, in those days, we quite forget what was in the ’40s and about the Holocaust, and about people saying ‘Nazis Nazis Nazis’ but they don’t know who the Nazis were and they just use this word,” he said. “You know, it’s a very cheap way to use this word. And after this movie people can understand what happened there, first; second of all, they can also understand how courageous were the people who did those things in order to bring those people to justice.”