TJC - The Jewish Channel
Home About Us Schedule Video Subscribe Contact TJC
Join Our Mailing List
Sign up for our Email Newsletter

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Cable/Satellite Provider


TJC Movies
  • America & World Jewry
  • Feature Films
  • History &
    Remembrance
  • Israel
  • TJC Original Series
  • Row J
  • The Salon
  • Up Close
  • Holy Dazed
  • Inside the Issues
  • Jews of Color
  • Modern Jewish Mom
  • The Portion
  • Rabbis Roundtable
  • Srugim
  • TJC Movie Talk
  • With the Editors
  • TJC Blogs
  • The Docent
  • TJC Newsdesk
  • Join Our Mailing List
    Sign up for our Email Newsletter

    Your Name (required)

    Your Email (required)

    Cable/Satellite Provider


    TJC Movies
  • America & World Jewry
  • Feature Films
  • History &
    Remembrance
  • Israel
  • TJC Original Series
  • Row J
  • The Salon
  • Up Close
  • Holy Dazed
  • Inside the Issues
  • Jews of Color
  • Modern Jewish Mom
  • The Portion
  • Rabbis Roundtable
  • Srugim
  • TJC Movie Talk
  • With the Editors
  • TJC Blogs
  • The Docent
  • TJC Newsdesk
  • legrandakshanhomeimage.jpg

    Directed by: Ron Goldman Rating: TV-PG
    Release Date: 2003 Running Time: 58 mins
    Language: Hebrew (English subtitles) Genre: Documentary
    More Info: Wikipedia entry on the Struma ship Category: israel


    A doomed ship’s failed journey to Palestine opens up a whole new world of intrigue and hidden truths. Le Grand Akshan began as an exploration of the ill-fated final trip of the Struma in 1942, but the family secrets the filmmaker discovers chart a new course that is fraught with complication.

    “You hear the story, and you hear the story again, and somehow it affects the human soul,” filmmaker Ron Goldman’s grandfather Ezra says of the Struma. “For what is the human soul, after all? It’s just a tapestry of stories.”

    The heart of Le Grand Akshan is the hidden history so many Jewish families share in the unspoken stories about their pasts and “the old country.” Reading a newspaper article about the search for the remains of the Struma, which sunk carrying Jewish refugees from Axis-allied Romania to Palestine, Goldman is shocked when his grandmother reveals that his great-great-grandfather Luzer was one of the more than 700 passengers who perished that day in the waters of the Black Sea. This once-unspoken family history leads Goldman to dig deeper and further, until he has revealed a narrative that is deeply complex, and says more about his legacy than his ancestors ever hoped to share.

    At the center of this narrative is Goldman’s great-grandfather, Luger’s son Grisha, a man whose tenacity earned him the professional nickname, Le Grand Akshan, or “the truly stubborn one.” Goldman once considered his great-grandfather a source of embarrassment because of the corny middle name he inherited from the mysterious “man with the sharp, piercing look” whose picture hung in his grandmother’s study. He is shocked to learn the central role that Grisha played in helping his family escape the Holocaust. His heroics involved a harrowing series of moves that took him to Romania, Iraq, India and, eventually, the young state of Israel, where Grisha entered the nascent cinema industry. Goldman becomes fascinated with his great-grandfather, and the drive to learn more about him fuels Goldman to complete the film.

    To flesh out the details of Grisha’s journey, Goldman interviews the gatekeepers of his family’s lore. “Don’t think you’ll find out things I don’t know about,” his grandmother Sascha admonishes him. “There are no such things.”

    Maybe not, but Goldman learns plenty. As photo albums are inspected and record halls are culled, Goldman’s knowledge grows, and the secrets come out — from the discovery that Luzer may have had a secret wife to great-grandmother Lily’s bizarre attempt to raise Sascha’s sister Sonia as a boy.

    Goldman successfully arranges the pieces of the puzzle in an engaging and thoughtful narrative. His lively narration makes for an enjoyable complement to the tinkling keys of the film’s piano soundtrack. Even more effective is his cross-cutting of the various stories his subjects tell, interweaving family interviews with archival photographs and footage dug up from attics and government archives alike. He even manages to dig up a bit of silent stock footage of the bespectacled Grisha, breathing life into the once-static image of “the short-sighted person with the far reaching vision who saved his family from the horrors of the World War.”

    Inspired by the man of the same name, Le Grand Akshan is an expertly composed essay about ancestral roots, remembrance and the importance of family. Moreover, his tale may just inspire the viewer to crack open some photo albums and delve into their own familial tapestry, discovering secrets both unexpected and wonderful.





    © 2007-2017 The Jewish Channel. All rights reserved.
  • About Homepage
  • TJC In The News
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • On Demand
  • FCC Compliance
  • Contact Us
  • Skate Skate to Survive. A moving film about the artistry and struggle of Ellen Burka; world renowned Canadian figure skater....

    Iraq N’ Roll. In this intimate and poignant film about family, culture and identity, filmmaker Gili Gaon follows popular contemporary...

    Klezmer On Fish Street. A look at the Jewish culture that thrives in 21st century Poland, despite the...

    Ralph Bakshi’s Urban American Folklore>> I’ve always loved folklore — well, the idea of it anyway. Though it can sometimes be an expression of bigoted hearsay, I am still fascinated by any story that can survive...

    “Blossom” Star Mayim Bialik Meets “Blossom” Seder Doll>> Ah, the power of television and the internet to bring people (and their dolls) together. In our Modern Jewish Mom Passover Special, still airing on The Jewish Channel, we feature...