By Evan Heringer '16
PLU Marketing & Communications
TACOMA, Wash. (March 5, 2015)- Writer and director Steven Pressman screened his Emmy-nominated documentary film, 50 Children: The Rescue Mission of Mr. & Mrs. Kraus, on March 4 as part of PLU’s Eighth Annual Powell-Heller Conference for Holocaust Education.
Several hundred people gathered in the Karen Hille Phillips Center for the Performing Arts to watch the film, which tells the story of an American couple, Eleanor and Gilbert Kraus, who dared to venture into Nazi Germany in 1939 to save the lives of 50 children.
Pressman happened to stumble upon the incredible story when he met his future wife and granddaughter of the Kraus’, Liz Perle, on the streets of San Francisco. “Liz handed me a stack of typed pages, and said to me, ‘You might find this interesting’,” Pressman said.
Perle had handed him a stack of journal entries and documents from the children that Pressman, at first, did not believe were real. “It read like a piece of fiction; it was not very believable,” Pressman said during the Q&A after Wednesday’s screening. “She handed me a plastic bag full of the kid’s passports and German immigration papers, and that’s when I started to believe.”
Pressman located a number of the 50 children who were rescued, and accounted for a total of 38 of them. The film features personal stories from many of the children who were rescued, as well as the children and grandchildren of Mr. & Mrs. Kraus.
The film is frequently screened at film festivals, universities, high schools and synagogues. The film was first shown on HBO in 2013 and was an Emmy nominee for Outstanding Historical Programming.
The Powell-Heller Conference for Holocaust Education continues through March 6.