Richard Lerner Productions Home Out of Europe What Happened to Kerouac? Revenge of the Cheerleaders Other Films Filmmaker Contact
    DVD Bonus Extras        
Out of Europe
Occupation Exodus

In May 1940, as bombs begin dropping over Belgium, the Lerner family has two days to escape before the Nazi ground forces invade. Their odyssey takes them crisscrossing through France, south to Spain, on to sanctuary in Portugal, and finally, to America. Overcoming fear and catastrophe—and through remarkable chance meetings and extraordinary luck—this large, well-off Jewish family rescue themselves from a disintegrating Europe, and, in turn, play their part as rescuers. Rosa Lerner

Rosa Lerner, the film’s eldest narrator, recounts the family’s modest origins in Poland during the Austrian Hapsburg Empire. This close-knit band of ten siblings—three sisters and sevenbrothers—migrate to Belgium, but are forced to scatter during World War One. Resettling in Antwerp, they prosper as diamond merchants and build families of their own. Life is good, until the onset of a second war uproots them yet again.

Vichy Police


The Lerners use their means to obtain chauffeured cars, train passage, and even the occasional lodging as they head south amidst the panic and dislocations of the time, but these advantages offer limited gains. Like all Jewish refugees, they had to surmount formidable obstacles and very poor odds in obtaining exit visas and crossing borders. What’s more, some of them had been blacklisted for aiding other refugees who had fled the Third Reich. Still, enduring scrapes with the Vichy police and numerous near-miss situations, they manage to keep one step ahead of bombardments and occupying forces and to engineer an escape route to freedom. Every one of them survives. Three years after they settle in New York, Marcel Lerner joins the U.S. Army and returns to Europe. He fights in the bloodbath of Anzio, and is among the first to liberate Dachau.

Marcel Anzio

Out of Europe
, documentary filmmaker Richard Lerner’s inspired tribute to his family and to the tenacity and good fortune of all survivors, is narrated exclusively by the family members who made this journey. Its source materials include 8mm Kodachrome movies from the 1940s that show the Lerners enjoying their lives together not long after they reestablished themselves in America. Music is prominently featured throughout and includes special selections from Chopin, Satie, Mahler, Paganini, and contemporary klezmer.

“Destiny has been very kind to our family,” Rosa Lerner says. This atypically celebratory Holocaust portrait still marvels at that kindness.


Maurice Lerner



Uncle Jack and wife 1929
Marcel LernerIrene
Belgian Beach


Richard Lerner

Sean Hellfritsch
Richard Lerner
Nathaniel Dorsky

Richard Lerner

Wayne Weber

(In Order of Appearance)
Rosa Lerner Noily
Paulette Lerner Kohane
Irene Lerner Moshief
Maurice Lerner
Marcel Lerner
Armand Lerner
Ines Lerner Schacter
Nora Kryss Lerner

Irene Lerner Moshief
Maurice Lerner
Shami & David Noily
Ines Lerner Schacter
Debbie Moshief
Paulette Lerner Kohane
Ariane Schnek

Irene and Paulette

Gnossienne No. 3 & No. 4
Composed by Erik Satie
Performed by Daniell Revenaugh

Mazurka Op. 30 No. 2 in B Minor
Berceuse in D Flat Major Op. 57
Composed by Fryderyk Chopin
Performed by Daniell Revenaugh

La Campanella
Paganini – Liszt – Busoni
Performed by Daniell Revenaugh

Une Journee
Composed by Darius Milhaud
Performed by Daniell Revenaugh

Symphony No. 1 ‘Titan’ in D Major; III
Symphony No. 2 ‘Resurrection’ in C Minor; III
Composed by Gustav Mahler

Nekhome (Solace)
Arranged by Michael McLaughlin
Performed by Shirim Klezmer Orchestra
Courtesy of Newport Classics, Ltd.
From The Klezmer Nutcracker NPD 85640

Mazurka No. 16 in A Flat Major Op. 24 No. 3
Composed by Fryderyk Chopin
Performed by Sviatoslav Richter Courtesy of the BBC
From the Legends Series Richter BBCL 4021-2