Affecting, imaginatively shot docu “Here I Learned to Love” accompanies two septuagenarian brothers, Avner Kerem and Izhak Weinberg, on a pilgrimage to retrace their childhood experiences during the Holocaust. Unlike similar memory-tracking endeavors, the film feels completely spontaneous and non-accusatory, the brothers’ emotional reactions rarely following expected paths. Their complex story, haltingly pieced together on the journey, involves being rescued by one “mother” after another, their happiest childhood remembrances coinciding with the horrors of Bergen-Belsen. This moving evocation of a world gone mad through the eyes of toddlers opened Oct. 26 at Gotham’s Quad Cinema.
Several landmarks on the brothers’ peril-fraught adventure still exist, from their apartment in the Krakow ghetto to the bunker where their soon-to-be-deported parents hid them. They trek through fields to the Polish farmhouse where they holed up with their pregnant aunt, to the railroad station where she threw them onto a train of Zion-bound Jews, to the concentration camp where the train was rerouted. Crying, singing, laughing or praying, the brothers compare memories of long-ago events for the first time, reconciling differences in a flood of recollected pain and unexpected solidarity.