Dir. Ruth Beckermann, Josef Aichholzer - 1983 - Austria
A master storyteller remembers his youth in Vienna. Franz West (1900 –1985) recalls his Jewish family, his commitment to the workers' movement in Red Vienna along with the rise of Austro-Fascism and National Socialism. His memories of the diverse Jewish population of the so-called “Matzah Island” combined with impressive archive material illustrate and elucidate the complexity of Austrian history between the two world wars.
"Docus dealing with historical personalities often suffer from a sheer lack of shooting time to allow the one being interviewed to unspool his biographical story at his own leisure and in his own manner. Ruth Beckermann and Josef Aichholzer’s Return to Vienna is a welcome exception to the norm for the subject, Franz West (Weintraub), is not only highly literate (he’s a professional journalist), but also a truly gifted storyteller with a balanced view of history as it unfolded a half-century ago in one section of Austria in the Viennese community of Leopoldstadt. Beckermann and Aichholzer score as exemplary historical documentarists." - Variety, 1983