I always knew I would make a film about my family’s escape from the Nazis: their flight across the Pyrenees from France to Spain, “running by night, hiding by day,” my mother wearing only high-heeled shoes. It was a story my mother told over and over, their monumental accomplishment, crossing to freedom with the help of the Maquis, the French Resistance.

I became a documentary filmmaker in my early twenties, and worked primarily on films about peace and justice. After the death of my parents, I found maps and documents among their belongings that brought a new reality to their story. Suddenly everything was real. How had my family survived when so many had perished? I felt compelled to finally begin making a very personal film about my own family.

My sisters and I went to Europe to see for ourselves what my parents were talking about all those years. I also needed footage for my mother’s interviews and my father’s memoirs.

It has taken seven long years to make this film. During the process, I was forced to confront my own trauma as a child of survivors. I also discovered that the miracle of my family’s survival was achieved through strength of will, a lot of luck, and the help of other people who risked their own lives. 




SHARON KARP is a founding member of the Chicago-based film collective Kartemquin Films. Since 1974 she has been involved in the production of independent films. In 1995 she formed her own video and post-production house, Media Monster.

Among her award-winning films are the 1986 Emmy-nominated SilentPioneers, and the Chicago Film Festival Silver Hugo Winner TheChicago Maternity Center Story. Ms. Karp was an editor on the Kartemquin-produced Vietnam:Long Time Coming. In 2001, Ms. Karp edited Voicesof the Geniza: Portraits from Medieval Cairo, for a multimedia exhibitionat the Spertus Museum in Chicago.Voices wonthe bronze medal in the prestigious MUSE awards. Another project for the Spertuswas A Force for Change, a film for the exhibitabout the Julius Rosenwald Fund and its support of African American artists,writers, teachers, and scholars. Additional award winning projects include TheInnocent, a film about men and women wrongly sentenced to death;

Burnt Oranges, a film about state terrorism in Argentina during the 1970s, and Standing Silent Nation, chronicling the struggle of a Lakota Indian family to develop a hemp industry on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota in order to become economically self-sufficient.


Recent projects include Be Filled with the Spirit: Storefront Churches, a look into the traditions of black storefront churches as photographed by Milton Rogovin; Picture Man: The Poetry of Photographer Milton Rogovin, the social documentarian who for nearly forty years photographed people around the world, focusing on men and women at work; and Never Turning Back: the World of Peggy Lipschutz, the story of one woman’s unwavering commitment to art, peace, justice and social change. The film won the Cine Golden Eagle award in 2009.