Library Journal

Paul Kaplan, Lake Villa District Library, Illinois,
Library Journal Online


Out of Europe: Escaping the Holocaust; One Lucky Family’s Survival Route from Belgium to America. color & b/w. 55+ min. Richard Lerner, dist. by SISU Home Entertainment, 212-947-7888; 2010. DVD ISBN 9781560866725. $125; acad. libs. $225. Public performance; home version. PBS Home Video, $24.95. Holocaust STUDIES
This excellent film shows how one large Jewish family was able barely to escape the Holocaust. Originally hailing from Poland, the Lerners found a haven and a home in Belgium during the early decades of the 20th century. The many siblings became diamond merchants, and they prospered. They saw no reason to leave, but then the war began and the Nazis marched into Belgium. In 1940, they fled through France to Portugal and freedom and succeeded owing only to Portuguese diplomat Sousa Mendes, who issued thousands of visas to persecuted minorities. The survivors eventually arrived in the United States. Filmmaker Lerner here records the story of his relatives, told in a familiar way as two of the remaining survivors sit around a kitchen table. One recounts being in the U.S. Army during the war and how he was among those who liberated the Dachau concentration camp. Historical footage, old family photographs, and graphical maps add dimension to this emotional tale. This well-crafted documentary will be especially appreciated by students first learning about the Holocaust; laypersons will be fascinated as well.—Paul Kaplan, Lake Villa Dist. Lib., IL