A film by Luigi Toscano

Black Sugar
Red Blood

the story of Anna

Black Sugar
Red Blood

the story of Anna

„This is the incredible story of Anna from Kyiv. Among other things, she survived the Auschwitz concentration camp as a small child. Despite many futile attempts, she has not learned anything about her origins to this day. Luigi Toscano has set out to find her traces.“

An unbelievable life story has not let go of German-Italian photographer and filmmaker Luigi Toscano since the beginning of his memory project „Lest we Forget“. It is the story of Anna Strishkowa, 81-year-old microbiologist from Kyiv, who survived the Auschwitz concentration camp as a small child and still does not have any traces to her roots. Luigi decides to help Anna find her true identity.

But shortly before the actual shooting of the movie starts war breaks out in the Ukraine and Anna finds herself facing war for the second time in her life. Despite ongoing missile attacks and constant alerts, she refuses to leave Kjiv, her hometown. At the same time, she refuses to give up the search. For Anna, this search is her last chance to discover her roots.

The starting point of the research is a grim place: Auschwitz – concentration camp, scene of planned mass murder and symbol of the crimes of National Socialism. This is where Anna‘s story of survival begins.

After liberation, she was taken to Kyiv and adopted by a Ukrainian family. A Soviet documentary film from 1945 shows Anna‘s tattoo number: 69929. Shortly thereafter, her adoptive parents had the number removed.

Anna tried in vain to find out something with this number. In the course of their research, Luigi and his team come across clues that cast doubt on the number‘s accuracy. Contrary to all expectations, they find information that points to Anna‘s true identity and even clues to possible siblings.

The documentary reveals how complex Anna‘s path from Auschwitz to Kyiv was – full of further concentration camps and insurmountable obstacles.

Filming locations

The filming takes place in Poland (Auschwitz, Potulice, Konstantynow), Israel (Jerusalem), Ukraine (Kyjiv, Lviv) and Germany.
94Min., 4k, Dolby digital

The film will be submitted to various international festivals in 2024-25. Following this, a theatrical release will be targeted. Subsequently, the film will be offered to TV stations and streaming services. In the education sector, Landeszentrale für politische Bildung will include the film in its education portal. In cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs of Baden-Württemberg and GdV e.V., the film will be presented at schools in Baden-Württemberg Germany and World Wide.

Illustration by Mehrdad Zaeri

Luigi Toscano

The photographer and filmmaker Luigi Toscano is a late-comer with an eventful past. As a roofer, doorman and window cleaner, the son of Italian immigrant workers experienced his environment from the most diverse perspectives. It is unusual for this to develop into an artistic career. But for Luigi Toscano it was a necessity, because the many visions and stories in his head must be shared and told. With photography, Toscano is able to capture his view of things. In his early works, the self-taught photographer concentrated mainly on the observation and depiction of still scenes and objects. With growing self-confidence, however, photographing people became the focus of his work.

The photographer Luigi Toscano is guided by „respect“ and „humility“-two old-fashioned-sounding virtues that have long accompanied him as a human being. „Colorblind“ (2003) is Luigi Toscano‘s first exhibition. And with his series „72 Hours“, for which he roamed through Mannheim, New York, Shanghai and Tehran, among other places, he has established his role as a photographer. Even outside the exhibition rooms, his black-and-white images can be found in a wide variety of contexts – as CD covers, flyers and in the illustrated book „Backstage,“ which portrays the comedian Bülent Ceylan. Or on pizza boxes. With the Pizzart project, Luigi Toscano also brings his art to the people as a cardboard box and at the same time delivers the pizza from the self-built wood-fire-oven.While Luigi Toscano‘s love for deep and detailed photographs has continued to grow, a new passion has developed.Moving objects, which are increasingly coming into focus, demand a new form of expression in the form of filming. Since 2006, Luigi Toscano has therefore also been active as a filmmaker. This was followed by projects for various musicians, including Laith Al-Deen, and the award-winning image movie „Wir sind Mannheim. „Transmission“ is Toscano‘s first cinema film, which premiered in 2009.

2013 marks the ten year anniversary of his first exhibition „Colorblind“. Since 2014, Luigi Toscano has been portraying Holocaust survivors around the world for his project LEST WE FORGET. More than 500 of these encounters have already taken place in Germany, the USA, Austria, Ukraine, Russia, Israel, France, Poland and Belarus. 2021 Therefore, Luigi Toscano was appointed as UNESCO Artist for Peace in 2021. He became the first photographer worldwide to receive this honor. In September of the same year, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier awarded him with the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. The documentary of the same name, LEST WE FORGET, premiered at the 2019 Seattle International Film Festival and was shown on all Alaska Airlines flights betweenJune and July 2019.

Contributors

Alexei Barinov
Fixer vor Ort: fand Olena Borukh (Tochter von Galina Iwanowa) in Drohobytsch

Andreas Stenger
Präsident LKA Baden Württemberg

Andrii Kohut
Leiter, SBU-Archiv

Anzhela Beljak
Koordinatorin, Aktion Sühnezeichen
Friedensdienste e.V. in der Ukraine und Moldau

Dr. Danuta Teresa Konieczny
Referentin für Mittelosteuropa, Stv.
Geschäftsführerin, Maximilian-Kolbe-Werk e.V.

Helena Kubica
Historikerin, ehem. Wissenschaftliche
Mitarbeiterin Auschwitz-
Birkenau State Museum

Holger Krämer
Deutsche Botschaft Warschau, nun
AA: Ref. 402 Wirtschaftsdiplomatie

Jens Waibel
Deutsche Botschaft Warschau

Kristine Shon
Dolmetscherin in Unna

Łukasz Lipiński
Press Office, Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum

Masha Pollak-Rozenberg
Director, Archives Division
Fred Hillman Chair for Holocaust
Documentation, Yad Vashem

Nikita Fialkov
Fachgruppenleitung „Archiv und
Dokumentationsstelle“, DRK-Generalsekretariat

Oksana Yankovenko
Historikerin, Archiv-Leiterin des Nat.
Memorials “Ukraine im Zweiten Weltkrieg”
(bearbeitete Lytwynow-Archiv)

Oleksandr Bilous
Historiker, Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiterin des
Nat. Memorials “Ukraine im Zweiten Weltkrieg”

Oleksandr Pasternak
Historiker, Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin des
Nat. Memorials “Ukraine im Zweiten Weltkrieg”

Robert Kardach
Service of the reading room,
Archiwum Państwowe w Bydgoszczy

Sima Velkovich
Head of the Family Roots Research
Section, Reference and Information
Department, Yad Vashem

Svitlana Usenko
Journalistin, TV-Produzentin, Regisseurin

Szymon Kowalski
Director, Archive, Auschwitz-
Birkenau State Museum

Tetiana Litvinchuk
Journalistin

Tetiana Pastushenko
Historikerin

Tetyana Firman
Dolmetscherin in Drohobytsch

Thoralf Cleven
Redakteur RND

Tomasz Pasieka
Director, Muzeum Ziemi Krajeńskiej
w Nakle nad Notecią

Valentyna Smirnova
Historikerin, Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin
des Nat. Memorials “Ukraine im Zweiten
Weltkrieg” (bearbeitete Lytwynow-Archiv)

Valerii Vasyliev
Historiker

Valerio Trabandt
Deutsche Botschaft Warschau

Yaroslava Pasichko
Historikerin, Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin des
Nat. Memorials “Ukraine im Zweiten Weltkrieg”

Organizations and institutions

Archiv des Staatlichen Museums
Auschwitz-Birkenau

Archiv des Staatlichen
Sicherheitsdienstes der Ukraine

Archiv des Waisenhauses Nr. 13

Archive Division, Yad Vashem

Arolsen Archives, International
Center on Nazi Persecution

Daniela Weiss Bild Forensic/
Cybercrime LKA

Deutsche Botschaft Warschau

Deutsches Rotes Kreuz

Institut für Nationales
Gedenken in Bydgoszcz

Institut für Nationales
Gedenken in Warschau

Kleines Museum in Potulice

Martin Boll Polizei Mannheim Matthias

Bölle LKA Baden Würtemberg

Muzeum Ziemi Krajeńskiej
w Nakle nad Notecią

Nationales Museum Ukraine
im Zweiten Weltkrieg

Pschenytschny Staatliches Zentralarchiv
für Kino, Photo, Phono der Ukraine

Staatliches Archiv in Bydgoszcz /
Archiwum Państwowe w Bydgoszczy

State Archive in Lodz

Staatliches Archiv der Kyjiw Oblast

Staatliches Archiv der Stadt Kyjiw

Stadt Mannheim

The Oleksandr Dovzhenko National
Center (Dovzhenko Center)

Ukrainisches Rotes Kreuz

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

ZDF Mediathek

Zentralarchiv der Oberen
Machtorgane der Ukraine

Crew

Writer, director

Luigi Toscano

Camera

Paul Götz
Nicolas Mussell

Camera Ukraine

Oleksandr Zhuravsky
Denys Krasylnikov

Sound

Yannick Bruch
Paul Götz

Sound Ukraine

Sergiy Melnychuk

Light

Paul Götz
Nicolas Mussell
Yannick Bruch

Light Ukraine

Oleksandr Zhuravsky
Denys Krasylnikov
Sergiy Melnychuk

Cut

Paul Götz, Luigi Toscano

Color Correction 

Paul Götz

Illustrations

Mehrdad Zaheri

Animation

Paul Götz

Music & Sound mixing

Mathias Kiefer
Andreas Viehöver

Production assistance

Max Martin

Text design

Silvia Fleck

Global organization

Katja Iesikowa

Historian

Artyom Ieromenko

Poem Black Sugar Red Blood

Olga Gelevan, geb. Stryzhkova

Interpreter, Nakło nad Notecią, Poland

Malgorzata Lusiak

Interpreter, Drohobytsch, Oblast Lwiw, Ukraine

Tetyana Firman

Interpreter, Unna, Germany

Kristine Shon

Speaker, poem

Johanna Withalm

Speech coach, Voice Over

Barbara Zechel

Transl, UKR-GER

Alina Kuchma

Transl, POL-GER

Agnieszka Birsak

Transl & Subtitles

Yannick Bruch

Press

Karolina Jarecki

Consulting

Linda Rodriguez

Graphics

Stefanie Lehmann 

Fixer on site: found Olena Borukh (daughter of Galina Ivanova) in Drohobych

Alexei Barinov

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