Private Project

Who Will Remain?

Attempting to better understand her grandfather Avrom Sutzkever, Israeli actress Hadas Kalderon travels to Lithuania, using her grandfather’s diary to trace his early life in Vilna and his survival of the Holocaust. Sutzkever (1913–2010) was an acclaimed Yiddish poet—described by the New York Times as the “greatest poet of the Holocaust”—whose verse drew on his youth in Siberia and Vilna, his spiritual and material resistance during World War II, and his post-war life in the State of Israel. Kalderon, whose native language is Hebrew and must rely on translation of her grandfather’s work, is nevertheless determined to connect with what remains of the poet’s bygone world and confront the personal responsibility of preserving her grandfather’s literary legacy. Woven into the documentary are family home videos, newly recorded interviews, and archival recordings, including Sutzkever’s testimony at the Nuremberg Trial. Recitation of his poetry and personal reflections on resisting Nazi forces as a partisan fighter reveal how Sutzkever tried to make sense of the Holocaust and its aftermath. As Kalderon strives to reconstruct the stories told by her grandfather, the film examines the limits of language, geography, and time.

  • Emily Felder
    Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing America (Assistant Editor), Rising Voices/Hótȟaŋiŋpi (Assistant Editor), SciTech Band: Pride Of Springfield (Assistant Editor)
  • Christa Whitney
    BEYLE: The Artist and Her Legacy
  • Christa Whitney
    BEYLE: The Artist and Her Legacy
  • Hadas Kalderon
    Black Honey
  • Jesse M. Abraham
    Executive Producer
  • Hadas Kalderon
    Key Cast
  • Avrom Sutzkever
    Key Cast
  • Mira Sutzkever
    Key Cast
  • Ruth Wisse
    Key Cast
  • Dror Lebendiger
  • Addie Reiss
  • Nitzan Moshe
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    װער װעט בלײַבן? (Ver Vet Blaybn?)
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Feature
  • Runtime:
    1 hour
  • Completion Date:
    December 31, 2020
  • Production Budget:
    50,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    Germany, Israel, Lithuania, United States
  • Language:
    English, Hebrew, Russian, Yiddish
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Miami Jewish Film Festival
    Miami, Florida
    United States
    April 15, 2021
    World Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Judy Levis Krug Boca Raton Virtual Jewish Film Festival
    Boca Raton, FL
    United States
    Palm Beach County Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Luleå International Film Festival Award
    Best Feature Documentary
  • Madrid Film Awards
  • IndieFEST Film Awards

    Award of Recognition: Documentary Feature and Award of Merit: Jewish
  • ImpactDOCS Film Awards

    Award of Recognition: Documentary Feature
  • Boca Raton Jewish Film Festival
    Boca Raton, Florida
    United States
    May 9, 2021
  • JxJ 2021 Festival
    Washington, DC
    United States
    May 23, 2021
    Official selection
  • Roma Cinema DOC
    Official selection
  • Dumbo Film Festival
    New York
    United States
  • Near Nazareth Film Festival
  • Continental Film Festival
  • Golden Harvest Film Festival
    Official Selection
  • Flickers' Rhode Island International Film Festival
    Providence, Rhode Island
    United States
  • Iconic Images Film Festival
    Official Selection
  • Museum Talkies International Film Festival
    Best Director Feature Film, Best Debut Filmmaker Feature Film, and Best Film Made by Women
  • Boston Jewish Film Festival
    Boston, MA
    United States
    Massachusetts Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Switzerland International Film Festival

    Best Documentary
  • St Andrews Film Festival
    St. Andrews, Scotland
    United Kingdom
    The Antonio Ripoll Award for Best Editing of a Feature Film
  • XIX Punta del Este Jewish Film Festival
    Punta del Este
    February 7, 2022
  • San Diego International Jewish Film Festival
    San Diego, California
    United States
    February 10, 2022
    U.S. West Coast
    Official selection
Distribution Information
  • Yiddish Book Center
    Country: United States
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Emily Felder, Christa Whitney

Emily Felder, Editor and Co-Director
Emily Felder is a documentary film editor whose work has been screened in museums, libraries, and schools across the country. She studied anthropology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she became invested in archaeology, visual ethnography, and non-fiction storytelling. She worked as the premiere technical assistant for the Yiddish Book Center’s Wexler Oral History Project, and as an assistant editor at Florentine Films/Hott Productions on feature-length documentaries broadcast on PBS. She is now an editor and videographer based in Los Angeles where she continues to make films.

Christa P. Whitney, Producer and Co-Director
Originally from Northern California, Christa discovered Yiddish while studying comparative literature at Smith College. She has studied Yiddish language at the Vilnius Yiddish Institute, the Workmen’s Circle, and the Yiddish Book Center. For the past ten years, she has directed the Yiddish Book Center’s Wexler Oral History Project, traveling near and far recording oral history interviews, managing a video archive, and producing documentary films and web features about all aspects of Yiddish language and culture.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Christa Whitney: It was reading Avrom Sutzkever in my first semester at Smith College that introduced me to the world of Yiddish literature. Back then, I never could have predicted that this interest in Yiddish would lead me on adventures all over the world and eventually to this film. Reading Sutzkever feels like a return to an intellectual and emotional home within Yiddish culture, so working on this film came with intense pressure as well as pleasure. I am not alone in my fascination with this writer and the world of his youth in pre-war Vilna, so it is my hope and honor to share this writer’s wild life story and endless well of inspired poetic work with a wider audience through this, my first feature-length documentary film.

Emily Felder: I was drawn to tell this story not only as a documentary filmmaker but also as a Jewish woman. This film examines the significant testimony of a Holocaust survivor and explores the challenges of intergenerational cultural transmission and the inherited trauma therein. As an American Jew whose family experienced this historical injustice and shares in its collective memory, I am humbled to illuminate Avrom Sutzkever as a key literary figure in the evolution of secular Jewish expression and identity.