Before television came to Australia in 1956 and well before the digital age, home movies shot on film were the way to go. It was expensive, time consuming and required considerable expertise. Yosef Steiner, Natziv Betar (Head of the youth movement, Betar) decided to use this medium as a means of promoting the annual end-of-year summer camps by creating a movie called THE SHMENDRIK CAMPER.
The first person to be chosen as SHMENDRIK (awkward and inept nonentity) was Philip Mirjam but when he got sick Aaron Ninedek was chosen as his replacement. As Aaron’s surname was often conflated to Nudnik (a bothersome person) the title was changed to NUDNIK THE SHMENDRIK CAMPER.
Filming was done at the KINGLAKE WEST camp in 1954/55 and many of the participants look back fondly to that time.
Even as a silent movie (adding sound was way beyond our means and expertise) it was a great hit and it was shown at many venues where there were potential camp attendees.
As time went by it lost its lead-in title and closing credits and was finally rescued by Raffi Lehrer who transferred it to videotape. Later, it was put on disk but in the process the time stamp was inadvertently added and that is the format we see now. The original film, what’s left of it, is in the Betar Library in Israel.
However, in July of 2015, as part of the 162SmilingFaces revival, Harry Stuart re-edited and restored the 20 minute version, added titles, credits and a soundtrack of music - and trimmed it down to 9 minutes. The editing selectively removed repetitious scenes but left the intent of the movie intact. The restoration added contrast and, by removing the saturation, eliminated the color tinge which brought it back to black and white. The scratches and other imperfections were purposely left as they were to make it look like an old film - but primarily because the budget did not cover the individual restoration of the film's 16,200 frames.
1: Nudnik the Schmendrick Camper A.K.A. THE NUDNIK FILM
2: 1962 - The 11th Kenes Artzi of Australian Betar, Sydney
Discovered in a drawer in John Ziegler's home in July of 2017, this film is a record of the 11th Kenes Artzi (national conference) of Betar Australia.
John converted the VHS tape to digital. However, we have not yet determined the videographer's name or how this film, along with others from 1954 and later, ended up on this videotape. The terms 'Natziv' and 'Netzivut' were those in use at the time. We have also used the names of people as they were in 1962.
We have tried to identify and name as many people as possible. If you recognize someone or, if we have mis-spelled your name, please email us with the details of what should be modified/added. Latest Version: Version 2, Aug 29, 2017.
Also discovered (in John Ziegler's home in July of 2017), this film is an edited and sort-of restored version of an hour-long raw film taken by Yosef Steiner (we assume) in Kinglake West in 1954-1955. It runs about 17 minutes.
This camp was, at the time, the largest and most successful camp Betar had held. It spawned the phrase '162 smiling faces' although, counting the people in the photo shoot (also in the film), it was probably much less. However, the number of '162' was used in camp promotion for years after.
We have tried to identify and name as many people as possible. If you recognize someone or, if we have mis-spelled a name, please email us with the details of what should be modified/added. Use the clock on the bottom left of the video to help identify the place in the video. Latest Version: Version 1, November 1, 2017.
Operational note: If you see the following message on the screen above: “Watch this video on YouTube. Playing on other websites has been disabled by the video owner”
- click on the YouTube icon on the bottom right hand corner of the screen to enable viewing.
4: 1959/60 Kinglake West Camp
This film is an edited and sort-of restored version of a 20 minute raw film taken by an unknown cameraman in Kinglake West in 1959-1960. It runs about 9 minutes.
We have tried to identify and name as many people as possible. If you recognize someone or, if we have mis-spelled a name, please email us with the details of what should be modified/added. Use the clock on the bottom left of the video to help identify the place in the video. Latest Version: Version 1, January 17, 2018.
5: 2018: Our Aliyah - A personal story by Heather Rosing
Sent to the site two days before Heather's passing, this interview related the story of Danny's and her journey from Australia to settling in Israel. It describes her struggles with culture change and the language.
This seems to be a partial interview and may be updated when more becomes available.
Length: about 30 minutes.
Recorded about December 2018 by Ben Gurion university as part of a social studies programme..