First the book, now the film. The remarkable story of Judy Feld Carr, a Canadian grandmother who rescued over 3,000 Jewish hostages from Syria, is to be turned into a documentary. Joshua Hammerman has the story (with thanks: Kenneth):
April 12, 2011 – The largest rescue of Jews by an individual since World War II was the rescue of over three thousand Syrian Jews from out of virtual bondage in Syria, a country that was extremely oppressive toward Jews. The rescue, which took place from from the mid-1970s until 2001, was accomplished in secrecy by a Canadian grandmother with no particular connections or resources. Over the course of almost thirty years, Judy Feld Carr bribed, ransomed, and smuggled Syria’s Jews to safety. The rescue was the best-kept secret in the Jewish world.
A documentary film, Mrs. Judy’s Secret, is in the works and will tell Feld Carr’s remarkable story for the first time – how she virtually single-handedly negotiated bribes with officials in the Syrian government, created her own smuggling ring for those who could not be ransomed, and one by one, took 3,228 Jews out of Syria to freedom. Not one was caught or killed.
Judy Feld Carr kept meticulous records and has agreed to grant the filmmakers of Mrs. Judy’s Secret unprecedented and exclusive access and to tell her story on film for the first time. The film will also include stories of five of the rescued families, located all over the world, and will trace the oppression of Jews in Syria. (...)
Mrs. Judy’s Secret is directed by veteran filmmaker Daniel Anker, an Academy Award-nominated and Emmy-winning producer and director whose films include Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust, Music from the Inside Out, and Scottsboro: An American Tragedy. It is produced by Susan Berger Sabreen, a multiple Emmy-winning television producer/director and journalist and an attorney.
When asked about her motivation for producing the film, Sabreen says, “Everyone always says ‘Never Again’ and everyone feels bad when there’s persecution against the Jewish community, but most of us don’t actually take action to fix it; often, we don’t even know how. Judy not only reached out on her own to try, which alone impresses me, but she also succeeded. I find it such an inspiring example of how you can accomplish good things in life if you just try hard enough.”
Of her accomplishment, Judy Feld Carr has said, “God works in strange ways…How did I know how to do this? The whole thing is surreal.” Over the years of her work, and the extensive travel it entailed, she received numerous death threats. She says that the fact she is still alive is a miracle. “Everybody does things according to what they are put there for. Everyone can make a difference,” she says.
The film is currently in the development and pre-production stage. Research is scheduled to be completed during the summer, with production to begin in Fall 2011, if necessary funds are raised. Plans are for a wide international broadcast distribution and national festival play, in addition to potential theatrical distribution. It will also have a major educational outreach component that will accompany the release, designed for Jewish community organizations, schools, and universities. While a best-selling book may reach thousands if successful, a documentary film has the potential to reach millions. With a shelf life of many years, it could potentially reach generations to come.
“I can think of no better example of the power of one than Judy Feld Carr,” says (Arye) Rubin (of Targum Shlishi, providing the seed funding). “I hope that everyone reading this appeal will step up to the plate and exercise their own power to help support this important film.”
To make an online contribution: http://www.mrsjudyssecret.org/ To mail a donation: Make check out to: API Arts & Outreach, Inc. - Syria Project, 18 West 21st St.,#803 New York, NY 10010. www.MrsJudysSecret.org
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The unsung Canadian who saved Syrian Jewry
How Syrian Jews obtained their freedom