Jongsma + O'Neill
“This is the story of a man named Gerrit Jongsma. It’s about his crimes, and about how those crimes have been hidden—by his family, by government policy, and by the sweep of time. He was a member of the Dutch SS and a Jew hunter whose signature damned at least one family to their deaths. And he was also my great-grandfather. But until recently, I’d never even heard his name.”
His Name is My Name unfolds over the course of ten three-minute episodes distributed on Instagram.
This animated documentary series explores how the crimes of WWII-era perpetrators still reverberate through today’s society, shaking the foundations of our homes and our families.
At the heart of His Name is My Name is the personal journey of one of its makers, Eline Jongsma. Jongsma grew up unaware that her great-grandfather was a Nazi-aligned mayor famous for his penchant for violence. Known as Gekke Gerrit, which means “Crazy Gerry” in Dutch, this hidden ancestor was wiped from the family history after the war. But secrets can’t stay hidden forever, and once Jongsma discovers Gerrit’s existence, she becomes obsessed with reconstructing his story—even if it means finding out that he may not be the only perpetrator hiding in her family tree.
Part detective thriller and part visual personal essay, His Name is My Name tracks Eline’s investigation into her family’s history, and shines a light into a still-dark corner of Europe’s past.
The documentary also has a place within ‘The Memory of Camp Westerbork’ exhibition at Camp Westerbork.
Jongsma + O'Neill are Eline Jongsma and Kel O'Neill, an Emmy-nominated, Webby-honored Dutch-American documentary team who balance human-scaled storytelling with cutting-edge filmmaking techniques. They are Sundance New Frontier Fellows, and won the Tim Hetherington Visionary Award with their groundbreaking VR film The Ark. Their films and experiences have premiered at some of the most important platforms in the world—including Tribeca, SXSW, The New York Film Festival, IDFA, REDCAT, Rencontres d'Arles, HotDocs, Vimeo Staff Picks and AFI Docs. Their work has been acquired for distribution by Hulu, PBS, Oculus, Vice, and The Economist, and they have created and directed campaigns for global brands including HP and Siemens. Kel is also an Eisenhower Fellow, and was the Senior Fellow at The Economist Media Lab.
This project is made possible by generous funding from the Mondriaan Fund, The Creative Europe Programme, DutchCulture, the Province of Drenthe, and the Camp Westerbork Memorial Centre.