Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Documentary '50 Children'

The film 50 Children: The Rescue Mission of Mr. and Mrs. Kraus (HBO Documentaries, 2013) tells the story of Gilbert and Eleanor Kraus, a Jewish couple who in 1939 left their home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for Vienna, Austria. Although Vienna was already under Nazi Germany's control and their plan held enormous risks, the couple was determined to travel abroad, making their express purpose the rescue of Jewish children from certain death. The 50 children the couple saved and brought to the United States in June, 1939, were ages 5 to 14 and included several pairs of siblings (see some photographs, both then and now). For other details about the couple's danger-filled mission, read the synposis.

Below is the trailer for the film, which includes archival footage, excerpts from Eleanor Kraus's journal, and contemporary interviews with, among others, Holocaust historians, the couple's granddaughter, and a number of those rescued as children:

Completed with the assistance of The National Center for Jewish Film, the documentary's director, producer, and writer is Steven Pressman, who subsequently wrote and published 50 Children: One Ordinary American Couple's Extraordinary Rescue Mission Into the Heart of Nazi Germany (HarperCollins, 2014; reprint paperback, May 2015). 

Book Cover

The film will screen October 18 at Mizel Arts and Culture Center, Denver, Colorado; November 8 at San Francisco's Congregation Emanu-el; November 9 at Shaw JCC, Akron, Ohio; November 18 at Merage Jewish Community Center, Irvine, California; and December 13 at Temple Isaiah, Lexington, Massachusetts. It is available for purchase as a DVD and for community, school, church, and other screenings. It also may be watched online at HBO Documentaries.

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