Ladder in the Lions' Den - Digital Download Movie

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A 107-year-old eyewitness tells his story Why would a man faced with death in three Nazi concentration camps not sign a document granting him his freedom? This is the true story of 107-year-old Leopold Engleitner. A seemingly ordinary man who was given the choice between life or death, he...

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A 107-year-old eyewitness tells his story

Why would a man faced with death in three Nazi concentration camps not sign a document granting him his freedom? This is the true story of 107-year-old Leopold Engleitner. A seemingly ordinary man who was given the choice between life or death, he found the extraordinary courage to stand by his conscience. Refusing to take up arms in support of Nazi aggression and to salute "Heil Hitler," his uncompromising stand put him and thousands of other Jehovah's Witnesses directly in the crosshairs of the Third Reich. Hitler personally proclaimed: "This brood will be exterminated in Germany!" Like a "ladder" lowered into the "lions' den" to which he was condemned, he was given a way out by the Nazis: in exchange for his freedom he was offered a document requiring him to renounce his faith and swear allegiance to Hitler. This-he refused. After surviving Buchenwald, Niederhagen, and Ravensbrück concentration camps, he weighed less than sixty-two pounds, but his will remained unbroken.

Language: English
Format: MPEG-4 movie
Size: 578.4 MB Runtime: 39 min
Sound Mix: Stereo Color:
Color with some parts in Black and White
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 720x480 pixels

International awards and notable events:


*Winner: Best Documentary Short at the 2013 Fallbrook International Film Festival, Fallbrook, California, USA*


*Winner: Best Short Documentary at the 2013 Rincón International Film Festival, Rincón, Puerto Rico, USA*

*Official Selection: Festival of Tolerance: 7th Zagreb International Jewish Film Festival 2013, Croatia*

*Official Selection: Festival of Tolerance: 1st Rijeka International Jewish Film Festival 2013, Croatia. (The film was ranked 3rd place among all screened films and received an audience rating of 4.81 out of 5.)*

*Official Selection: Chagrin Documentary Film Festival, Ohio, USA (Festival will take place from October 2-6, 2013)*

*English version of Ladder in the Lions' Den premiered in 2012 at the Laemmle Theater in Encino, Los Angeles, California, USA*


Directed by:

Bernhard Rammerstorfer
A. Ferenc Gutai (co-director)
Writing credits: (in alphabetical order)
Brian Dorsey - script editor
Frederic G. Fuss - script editor
Solange Fuss - script editor
A. Ferenc Gutai - script writer
Bernhard Rammerstorfer - script writer
Cast: (in alphabetical order)
Rammerstorfer Bernhard - Character of Leopold Engleitner
Frederic G. Fuss - Narrator (voice)
Gordon Piedesack - Voice of Leopold Engleitner (voice)
Produced by:
A. Ferenc Gutai - co-producer
Bernhard Rammerstorfer - executive producer
Bernhard Rammerstorfer - producer
Cinematography by:
Anton Kapfer (director of photography)
Film Editing by:
Anton Kapfer (edited by)
Sound Department:
David Abrahamsen - sound mixer
Anton Kapfer - sound editor
Editorial Department:
Jonathan Liebert - digital cinema mastering

Reviewer: Professor Christine E. King, DL from Staffordshire University
This video commences with the striking image of an elderly man sitting on
a park bench holding up a placard. Passers-by half glance in his direction, curious, but unsure how to react.

This video answers their questions.

The story of how the Jehovah's Witnesses stood firm against the horror
of the Nazi regime is important for all of us, whether we share the faith of the Witnesses or not. The video tells it well - with careful attention to historical detail without ever losing the feel of a story well told. It is a compelling and important record.

Reviewer: Prof. Dr. Walter Manoschek, Political scientist from Institute for Political Science at the University

Bernhard Rammerstorfer's biography of Leopold Engleitner is an impressive record of the life of a Jehovah's Witness in the 20th century. Leopold Engleitner, born in Salzburg in 1905, looks back at a life of persecution during the period of National Socialism, which led to his internment in three concentration camps before he was forced to spend weeks on end at the end of the war hiding in a hut and a cave in the mountains near his home to avoid arrest as a conscientious objector. The simple farm laborer emerges as a man whose unshakeable faith prevented him from cracking under pressure.

Brilliantly researched and perfectly crafted, Rammerstorfer's book offers a sensitive portrayal of a man whose memory stretches over the entire 20th century. Following decades of persecution, prejudice and ridicule Leopold Engleitner now receives belated recognition through this book which reaches far beyond the borders of his native Austria.
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