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Full Synopsis

Out of the atrocities of the Holocaust came personal stories of survival fathomable only to those who lived them. This is the story of Dr. Gisella Perl, who defied the most notorious German war criminal of all time: the chief physician of Auschwitz, Dr. Josef Mengele.

Gisella Perl (Oscar and Emmy Award winner Christine Lahti, Chicago Hope) emerges from a massive steamer docked at a Manhattan port in 1946. One of a straggling mass of Jewish war refugees, she has come to America in search of a new life and determined to resume her old one as one of Eastern Europe’s first female gynaecologists. But a practice in America means passing the medical boards. It is during this interrogation that Gisella’s past comes to light. She was the assistant to Dr. Josef Mengele (Jonathan Cake, Noah's Ark), raising a troubling question that demands an explanation. In a personal trial of conscience and fate, what did Gisella do to survive?

Her story begins with a realised dream to become the first female doctor in her village of Sighet. But a bright future is destroyed by the Nazi occupation. As Gisella and her family and friends fall victim to the terrors of the camps, she also finds herself in the uniquely horrifying position of being an invaluable prisoner. Assigned as assistant to Dr. Mengele, she becomes an eyewitness to his experiments. It is her humanity though that provides her the courage to secretly offer an unshakeable hope of survival to the condemned women brought to her under the most heinous conditions. It will be Gisella’s duty to build a legacy of strength and faith that will take her and other prisoners far beyond the horrors of a man-made hell to a new world where new dreams are still possible.

Dr. Gisella Perl’s shattering memoir, I Was A Doctor in Auschwitz, the literary testament to the tenacity of the human spirit, is the basis of this inspiring new film. Featuring an all-star supporting cast including Emmy and Golden Globe winner Beau Bridges (We Were the Mulvaneys), Golden Globe winner Bruce Davison (X-Men), Emmy and Golden Globe nominee Richard Crenna (By Dawn's Early Light), and Jolyon Baker (Attila).

Programme Information

Aspect Ratio:
120 Mins
Year of Production:
TV Movies

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