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Tuesday, September 14, 1999 Published at 10:07 GMT 11:07 UK


Remember Holocaust says Williams

Robin Williams, star of Jakob the Liar, says the Holocaust must be remembered

Hollywood funnyman Robin Williams has made an impassioned plea for people to remember the horrors of the Holocaust.

The 47-year-old star was speaking at the London premiere of his new film Jakob the Liar, a charity event to aid the Holocaust Educational Trust.

Before the screening of the movie, in which Williams plays a Jewish cafe owner in wartime Poland, he was asked if it was time to forget the Nazi genocide.

"No, you can't leave it," replied the actor. "There's too much to do and learn."

[ image: Jakob the Liar: Williams puts comedy aside for Holocaust film]
Jakob the Liar: Williams puts comedy aside for Holocaust film
In the film, which opens in the UK on 5 November, Williams' character offers hope to his fellow Jews after they are herded into a ghetto by the occupying Nazis.

After accidentally overhearing a radio broadcast telling of Soviet military victories against the German army, he is inspired to spread word of other fictitious Allied advances - giving hope to the Jews that rescue is at hand.

The Nazis learn of these mythical broadcasts and set about hunting down the resistance hero who dares to challenge them.

Williams admitted that making the film was emotionally taxing and that the subject matter was devastating. "But we have to find a way of dealing with it," he added.

He said that he found the scenes involving the children caught up in the Nazi bid to exterminate the Jews particularly upsetting.

[ image: Children should learn the
Children should learn the "painful" about genocide says Spielberg
"One million children died in the Holocaust. I have three, I can't imagine losing one of them."

Schindler's List director Steven Spielberg agrees with Williams' plea that there are still valuable lessons to be learned from the Holocaust.

In June he argued that children should continue to be told the "painful" truth about the genocide of half a century ago at a London screening of The Last Days, his latest Holocaust documentary.

Spielberg, whose Shoah Foundation produced the Oscar-winning film about Holocaust survivors returning to their home towns, said lessons about the era should not be given "with a spoonful of sugar".

Jakob the Liar opens in the UK on 5 November. The Last Days opens on 8 October.

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