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UW-Eau Claire researchers featured in ‘The Good Nazi’ film to screen Sept. 28

| Julie Poquette

The Wisconsin premiere of a documentary that includes the work of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire faculty and student researchers at the site of a Nazi labor camp during the Holocaust will screen at 4 p.m. Sept. 28 in the Woodland Theater of UW-Eau Claire’s Davies Center.

The film screening, part of UW-Eau Claire’s Earth Science Seminar Series, is free and open to the public. Attendees can park in any available "F" or "S" parking stall in any university lot.

“The Good Nazi” is a 50-minute film chronicling the July 2017 work of a U.S.-Canadian-Israeli-Lithuanian research team at the site of HKP 562, a Nazi labor camp in Vilnius, Lithuania, during the Holocaust. The camp’s commanding officer, Major Karl Plagge, led efforts to protect the camp’s Jewish workers from the Nazi SS. Those efforts resulted in the survival of more than 250 Jewish men, women and children at the camp — the single largest group of Jewish survivors of the Holocaust in Vilnius.

Dr. Harry Jol, UW-Eau Claire professor of geography, and UW-Eau Claire students worked as part of the international research team at the HKP 562 site, employing ground-penetrating radar to search for killing trenches, mass graves and malinas (hiding places in the Jewish living quarters).

The UW-Eau Claire student-faculty research projects highlighted in the documentary were funded by the university's International Fellows Program and Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, as well as support from university alumni and other project sponsors through the UW-Eau Claire Foundation.

“The Good Nazi” documentary includes video testimonies from HKP 562 survivors who helped direct the work of the research team, as well as from a Plagge family member. It premiered on April 12 in Hebrew in Israel and on July 12 in English in Vilnius. In the U.S., the film will be featured on the PBS science series “NOVA” in spring 2019.

Photo cutline: UW-Eau Claire 2018 geology graduate Richard Mataitis, foreground, helped conduct research in July 2017 using ground-penetrating radar at the site of HKP 562, a Nazi labor camp in Vilnius, Lithuania, during the Holocaust. Also working on the project were, in the background, UW-Eau Claire geography major Joe Beck and 2018 geography graduate Luke Burds. The building in the photo served as housing for Jewish workers at HKP 562 and was the site of killings of those workers by the Nazis. The memorial in the foreground is in honor of those killed at HKP 562.