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Award-winning Holocaust film serves up story of ‘heroism and courage’

“The Ice Cream Man” recounts a mass strike by workers in Amsterdam during World War II.

Robert Moniot, writer and director of “The Ice Cream Man.” Credit: Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
Robert Moniot, writer and director of “The Ice Cream Man.” Credit: Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.

A film in pre-production about a Jewish ice-cream store owner in the Netherlands who inspired resistance fighters during the Holocaust has won first place in the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany’s Emerging Filmmaker Contest.

“The Ice Cream Man,” written and directed by Robert Moniot, tells the story of shop owner Ernst Cahn, who was targeted by Klaus Barbie, the “Butcher of Lyon.” In the course of Cahn’s resistance, he is arrested and killed. As a result, more than 300,000 workers in Amsterdam went on strike from Feb. 25-26, 1941. It was one of the first substantial anti-Nazi protests in Western Europe during World War II.

“ ‘The Ice Cream Man’ is a story of heroism and courage during a period of persecution and death,” said Gideon Taylor, president of the Claims Conference. “It’s vital to hear these stories and show them in a format that appeals to the public. Film is a vital medium in our global efforts to support Holocaust education.”

American actor Noah Emmerich, 58, who plays Cahn, said the role is personal for him, as he is of Dutch descent.

“My father’s family fled Nazi Germany for Amsterdam, and as a boy, my dad lived in the same neighborhood as Ernst Cahn’s ice-cream parlor,” he stated.

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