Oak Park Theater screening ‘Passage to Sweden’ | News, Sports, Jobs

Minot’s Oak Park Theater will host a special screening of the documentary “Passage to Sweden” as a prelude to the Midsummer Festival of the Scandinavian Heritage Association. The acclaimed documentary, directed by Brooklyn, New York, born filmmaker Suzannah Warlick, shines a light on the mostly untold story of how thousands of Scandinavian Jews were spared the Holocaust by being smuggled into Sweden.

Warlick started making documentary films after taking a course in video editing and turning it into a career in videography. After a series of documentary projects covering the experiences of actors and drag queens, Warlick turned his camera to matchmaking and marriage in New York’s Orthodox Jewish communities for a documentary titled “Match & Marry.”

“I happened to work with people who were interesting” said Warlick. “It made me ask questions. Why do you do that? What’s the call? »

It was while working on “Associate and Marry” that she met a matchmaker named Chana Sharfstein, who lived through the events of World War II in Sweden as the daughter of the chief rabbi of the Orthodox community in Stockholm. Sharfstein implored Warlick to continue the story of the “Swedish Rescue” as her next project, which Warlick herself was initially reluctant to pursue. While deliberating, she worked on a music video for a colleague and told him about the potential project.

“He gave me a check and told me to do my next film. It was enough to make the first trip to Sweden. Without this first check, I don’t think I would have succeeded in the end. said Warlick. “All roads lead to Sweden. He’s the main character. »

Sweden was neutral during World War II, avoiding Nazi occupation, unlike neighboring countries Norway and Denmark. Sweden would eventually open its borders to Jews and other groups persecuted by the Nazi state throughout Europe. More importantly, the concerted effort of the citizens of Denmark enabled 99% of their Jewish population to flee to Sweden, which is the focus of Warlick’s documentary.

During several trips to Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Hungary, Warlick recorded more than 100 hours of interviews, capturing the testimony of those who survived thanks to the selflessness and heroism of ship captains. fishing, diplomats, a king and an entire nation. Production was slowed somewhat by the COVID-19 pandemic, but Warlick used the time to distill the footage and complete the film.

“Most people, even of Scandinavian origin, don’t know this story. Hopefully everyone who sees it learns something,” said Warlick.

Screenings for “Passage to Sweden” will begin June 13 and run until June 15, with tickets priced at $5. The June 16 premiere will be $20 a ticket, with a beer and wine reception beforehand and a Q&A with Warlick and Scharfstein after the screening.

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