Happy New Year
We all need to stand up for what is right. Sometime an individual can you remind you what is possible.
It is with great sadness that I report the death of Saul Stermer, the second of the Stermer brothers. With his passing all three Stermer brothers and all three Stermer sisters, the children of the remarkable Esther and Zaide Stermer, are now gone. Their nieces, Sonia and Sima, are the sole surviving members of the Stermer family group that lived through the war in Priest’s Grotto.
Saul was my hero. Today, as I remember him, I hear his laughter and his joy in telling the family story. I feel the incredible love he had for his family, his beloved wife Charna, his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. I particularly see, the joy and pride on his face as he watched his granddaughter Erin and his grandnephew Cliff ascend out of “his cave,” when we returned to Ukraine.
It has been one of the great joys of my life to call Saul my friend, and for our team to tell his and the rest of the family’s story. I will carry you with me always Saul.
An incredible true story of strength and survival.
Witness No Place on Earth on Magnolia Selects now!
PHOENIX, AZ FILM SCREENING: On May 7th, 2017 there will be a 2:00 pm screening of No Place On Earth at the Cutler-Plotkin Jewish Heritage Center as part of the Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival. Following the film Chris Nicola will be participating in a Q&A session and book signing for his book The Secrets of Priest’s Grotto. Please note that the event is currently sold out, but it might be possible to be placed on a standby list in the event of cancelations.
Our most recent film Unseen Enemy is airing tonight on CNN at 9pm eastern time/6pm pt in the US and Canada. We were so privileged to tell the story: No Place On Earth. Now we are also privileged to tell the stories in Unseen Enemy.
We wish everyone a Happy New Year!
We are proud to announce and celebrate two of our No Place On Earth actors: Dani Hedgedus who did a fantastic job playing Sol Wexler and his sister Dori Hedgedus who was one of the children extras. Each of them just became a Hungarian canoe racing national champion:
Dani – K1 U15-U16. 3×200m, Dóri – K1 U15-U16 3×200m.
Hungary is one of the world powers in the sport. You will see a variety of Hungarians competing in the sport in the Olympics shortly.
GO DANI and DORI. Awesome.
It is with a heavy heart that I report the death of Sam Stermer, one of the Stermer brothers of No Place On Earth. Sam was the youngest Stermer child, the youngest brother. As a young teenager in the cave Sam always worked hard to keep up with his older brothers. He remained a fighter to the end.
Sam survived the unspeakable and still held on to joy and kindness. His love for his family infused him: his parents, his siblings, his wife, his children and grandchildren. I will forever hear his laugh and remember the eagerness with which he moved through Verteba Cave. May his memory be a blessing. Our thoughts are with the extended Stermer family, Sam’s widow Bella, his children Lila and Irwin, their spouses, and Sam’s beloved grandchildren.
Happy Holidays, and a Joyous New Year from the No Place On Earth team.
I saw Saul and Sam Stermer, and Sima Dodyk Blizter in Montreal this weekend, three of the survivors from Priest’s Grotto. It is such a a privilege and joy to know them. And seeing pictures of their children and grandchildren, and great-grandchildren in their homes, I am reminded of the incredible human legacy of their fight to survive.
Chris Nicola and Elijah Lawson at the Friday Harbor Film Festival where No Place on Earth run the audience award this weekend.
Last night No Place On Earth won the Audience Choice Best Film Award at the Friday Harbor Film Festival on San Juan Island off the coast of Washington state. Chris Nicola and soundman Elijah Lawson both attended the festival to talk about and represent the film.
No Place On Earth in the trailer for the upcoming Friday Harbor Island Film Festival. Caver Chris Nicola will be there.
A testament to the incredible achievements of the survivors of Priest’s Grotto is the fact that NO PLACE ON EARTH is the top rated historical documentary on Netflix, beating out some incredible competition. It currently ranks among the top ten highest rated documentaries of any kind, any year on Netflix.
This is a tribute both to the incredible families of Verteba and Priest’s Grotto and also to communities like this one on Facebook that work to get the word out.
Thanks from the No Place On Earth team.
For those of you in Washington State, No Place On Earth will be playing at the Friday Harbor Film Festival on San Juan Island on November 6-8. And Chris Nicola will be in attendance.
Shanah Tovah everyone.
TODAY IN HOLOCAUST HISTORY:
On September 1, 1939, German forces invaded Poland, beginning World War II. Great Britain and France responded to Hitler’s advance by declaring war on Germany just two days later.
Poland’s largest city (with its largest Jewish population), Warsaw, surrendered just one month after the German advance began, on September 28. Poland had the largest Jewish population in Europe and would become the epicenter for Nazi plans for mass murder. By 1945, the Third Reich and their collaborators had murdered approximately 6 million Jewish civilians. Half were Polish Jews. An estimated 3 million of the 3.3 million Jews living in Poland would be murdered in under six years. In addition, an estimated 3 million non-Jewish Polish civilians and soldiers were killed between 1939 and 1945.
In all, WWII left approximately 60 million people (civilians and combatants) dead. Today we remember the innocent victims, specifically the Polish citizens, both Jewish and non-Jewish, who were murdered, displaced or harmed following the German invasion on September 1, 1939.
Just a note of appreciation today to Chris Nicola, who literally unearthed the story of No Place On Earth, finding objects in a Ukrainian cave. At the funeral last weeked for Sol Wexler, his grandchildren spoke incredibly movingly about Chris taking them back to the caves and how that made them understand and love their grandfather that much more. So here is to Chris who unearthed a story, and who has continued to take a variety of survivior’s grandchildren back to the cave. And here is also to those grandchildren, who will carry the story forward.
Sol Wexler, one of the survivors from No Place On Earth, died this morning. We were privileged to meet him and to tell his and the other survivors’ story.
Sol lost his mother and brother in the first cave, a loss that haunted him all his life. I am deeply grateful he fought so hard to survive as his wonderful children and grandchildren would not be here if he hadn’t done that. Our team’s thoughts are with his children, their spouses, his grandchildren and their partners, and his wider extended family.
In each of us there is good, and the possibility to act on it in small ways and big. Below is a man who did something extraordinary. He didn’t think it was but he saved over 600 children during the Holocaust and those children became: scientists and film directors, authors, journalists, and members of Parliament.
Each of us, flawed as we are, has the chance to change the world for the better.
As part of our other film Unseen Enemy, we filmed Dr. Larry Brilliant in Berlin, Germany at the Holocaust Memorial. It was his first visit to the memorial and a deeply moving experience for Dr. Brilliant, because many of his wife’s family, were lost in the Holocaust. #NeverForget #NeverAgain