Thursday, April 04, 2013

An American Holocaust story relived 

In 1939 two Jewish Americans entered into Nazi-occupied Vienna with one goal: to rescue 50 children from the Holocaust.

Gilbert Kraus and his wife Eleanor brought back 25 girls and 25 boys to the United States.

Now the humble couple's story is being told by their granddaughter Liz Perle and her husband Steven Pressman, in a HBO documentary "50 Children: The Rescue Mission of Mr. and Mrs. Kraus."

Liz Perle, granddaughter of the Krauses, said: "I grew up knowing the story but not really appreciating the importance of it."

While the Krauses never sought publicity for what they did, Perle and Pressman felt the story was big enough for the screen.

Film maker Steven Pressman said it was a wonderful opportunity to "shine a light on this unknown, this little unknown Holocaust rescue story. But I think more importantly to also shine a much deserved spotlight on this extraordinary couple."

Several of the children who were selected are featured in the film.

Henny Wenkart, who was rescued at the age of 10 said she will never get over the shame of wanting to save herself and leave her family behind.

One of the 50 children, Henny Wenkart, stated:

"Immediately that, you know, my first thought was to save my own life. I never got over that. I never got over that."

Once the film credits role, Pressman and Perle hope audiences will be both educated and motivated by the documentary.

Pressman added: "My hope is that this wonderful, wonderful story maybe gets some people at least thinking. 'What might I do? Today, tomorrow, next year to somehow make this world a slightly better place'."

"50 Children: The Rescue Mission of Mr. and Mrs. Kraus" will air on the US cable network HBO on Holocaust Remembrance Day, April 8th.


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