"...that there were dead people behind the barbed wire, that was everyday life."

Celino Bleiweiß, 2022

Mechl Feiler becomes Celino Bleiweiss

Celino Bleiweiß was born as Mechl Feiler in Przemyśl/Poland on January 4, 1937. Before his parents were murdered by the German occupiers, they succeeded in handing him over to Richard Bleiweiß. The latter’s wife and daughter were also murdered. Richard had papers with which he could take Mechl/Celino and his cousin Hela with him to Bergen-Belsen in place of his own murdered family members. The new family was liberated in Tröbitz, where they stayed until 1949. Mechl no longer wanted to use his original name. He survived with the new name, Celino Bleiweiß.

Celino Bleiweiß with his mother, Rachel Feiler, in Przemyśl, before 1939
Celino Bleiweiß in Tröbitz, around 1946
Celino and Richard Bleiweiß after the liberation in Tröbitz, around 1946

“… a typical memory … I remember exactly how we, a few boys, were squatting on a car trailer … and discussing how the valve functioned. … to us that was interesting. Not a single word was lost on what was lying on the car. It was piled high with a mountain of corpses.”
Celino Bleiweiß 2022

"… I don’t want to be reduced to the Holocaust."

Celino Bleiweiß, 2021

What constitutes a life?

Celino, Hela and Richard Bleiweiß stayed in Tröbitz until 1949. At that time Celino was the only Jewish kid in the village. In 1949 the family moved to Dresden. Celino studied at the film academy in Babelsberg and became a film director. He was successful as a filmmaker in the GDR, but refused to join the Socialist Unity Party (SED). The past did not occupy his thoughts very much. On a trip to Israel, Celino did not return to the GDR, but went to Munich, where he settled in 1984. His wife and daughter were able to follow him there.

Celino Bleiweiß behind the camera at DEFA, 1970s
Celino became a successful film director in the GDR.
Among his productions was the adaptation of the novella "Memoirs of a Good-for-Nothing" by Joseph von Eichendorff, GDR 1972/73.
Film poster "Aus dem Leben eines Taugenichts” (“Memoirs of a Good-for-Nothing"), 1973

Celino Bleiweiß asks himself: What constitutes a life? | Video 1:40 min

"I am a master of surpression."

Celino Bleiweiß, 2022

On the way

Celino Bleiweiß has been very lucky in his life and has often run into people who helped him. The main topic of his work is to tell stories about people. This is reflected in his film productions. In 2010, with the help of his wife, Shula Volkov, he discovered that he had relatives in Israel. He now lives near Munich and in Herzliya/Israel.

Celino and his wife, Shula Volkov, in Venice, 1995