John Friedman and Eric Nadler of New York-based Friedman-Nadler Productions had to rely on their backgrounds as investigative journalists for their new production Stealing the Fire, a 90-minute documentary investigating German corporations that, since profiting from the Holocaust, have become leading black market suppliers of nuclear weapons technology.
The project involved interviewing over 100 people in four separate continents and took almost five years to film. Nadler describes it as ‘a five-year journey into the nuclear underworld,’ a trip he says was riddled with complications, including language barriers and reticent witnesses. But, the filmmakers were inspired to continue their investigation. Says Nadler, ‘This film is a follow-up to the Holocaust. No one has looked at the link between German corporations and the nuclear underworld.’
Their search led to a German multi-national that had an exclusive contract with the SS to smelt all of the gold and silver from concentration camp victims. It also manufactured Zyklon-B and supplied uranium for the Nazi atomic bomb project. In the last few decades, the company has become a leading trafficker in the nuclear black market, assisting countries such as Iraq and Pakistan.
The US$600,000 project has attracted the involvement of the Soros Documentary Fund and the New York-based Nation Institute, the combined contributions from which total $127,500. The producers are considering a 60-minute version and are still in search of a distributor for both domestic and international television. They also expect the feature-length project to hit the festival circuit. Stealing the Fire is scheduled to deliver in October 2001.