USC Shoah Foundation Mourns the Passing of Filmmaker and Friend Luke Holland
USC Shoah Foundation mourns the loss of Luke Holland who passed away this week, a transformative figure in the field of historical documentation and a dear friend of the Institute. “Luke guided us all to face our pasts—to face our fears—as pathway to living a more informed, peaceful life,” said Stephen Smith, Finci-Viterbi Executive Director of USC Shoah Foundation.
For the past decade, Luke oversaw Final Account: Third Reich Testimonies, an oral history project in which he conducted hundreds of interviews with former Nazi perpetrators and bystanders. Holland’s filmed interviews are collected in an archive exploring the individual motivations, actions, and attempted justifications of those who perpetrated the Shoah. The son of a Jewish refugee from Vienna and descendant of Jews killed by the Third Reich, Luke demonstrated remarkable courage in his attempt to help all of us understand how other humans could commit genocide.
Over his decades-long career, Holland worked with indigenous and underprivileged communities, with a special emphasis on survivors who could speak as eyewitnesses to the actions and ramifications of the Third Reich. His 1999 documentary I Was a Slave Labourer shines light on the campaign for forced and slave labour compensation, helping build momentum in Germany to secure a $5 billion settlement from the government to create the “Remembrance, Responsibility, and Future” Foundation, known as EVZ. Other notable documentary projects include Good Morning Mr Hitler, More Than a Life, A Very English Village, Gene Hunters, and The ‘Savage’ Strikes Back. Luke’s innovative approach to oral history collection was groundbreaking. His impressive filmography featured narratives of significance, perseverance, and empathy. His legacy extends filmmaking into the future, as he established the UK screening initiative Docuspace and served with a number of film festivals.
Luke’s dedication to preserving historical narratives through oral interviews speaks to his belief in the power of memory to create meaningful positive change in the world. USC Shoah Foundation recognizes Holland’s contributions to the field and shares his vision for a world without hatred.
May his memory be a blessing.