In the spring of 1939, Gilbert and Eleanor Kraus embarked on a risky and unlikely mission. Traveling into the heart of Nazi Germany, they rescued 50 Jewish children from Vienna and brought them to the United States.
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As Adolf Hitler tightened his control over Europe in early 1939, Jews living inside Nazi Germany and Austria were increasingly desperate to escape. But restrictive immigration policies in effect in the United States made it all but impossible for more than a handful to find freedom here. Gilbert and Eleanor Kraus, a Jewish couple from Philadelphia, were determined to do what they could to help bring a group of children into the safety of America. Against all odds, the couple came up with a rescue plan aimed at bringing 50 Jewish children out of Vienna and into the safety of the United States. This documentary film tells a dramatic story that has never been told before -- how one courageous couple saved the lives of 50 children on the eve of the Holocaust.Written by
True courage is an unexplainable commodity. Gilbert and Eleanor Krauss paid attention to the news of Hitler's activities through 1938, the latest being the November Kristallnacht atrocity, the deaths of more than 30 Jews, the destruction of a thousand synagogues, and the incarceration of 30,000 Jewish men two days. Certainly, the cooperation of German and Austrian civilians with the Nazi soldiers in those couple of days made the future prospects of the remaining Jews very dim. Enter a Jewish attorney and his wife in Philadelphia (perhaps further inspired by their association with a Quaker church) who concocts a scheme to fetch fifty children from Jewish families in Vienna. He must go there to do this. My eyes tear up while trying to imagine what it took to believe, not only in the possibility of success of such a venture, but that he would survive a foray into such a violent, anti-semitic nightmare. Steven Pressman and Liz Perle's wonderful documentary is a fascinating examination of pressing-on in the face of frightening odds. See it.
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