In the spirit of Hanukkah, Classrooms Without Borders, in partnership with the Collaboratory Against Hate, the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh, and CMU’s International Film Festival, proudly announces the Pittsburgh-area premiere of the feature film Irena’s Vow, based on the true story of Polish nurse Irena Gut Opdyke.
Irena's Vow weaves a narrative of courage akin to the Maccabees' legendary story, chronicling the bravery of Irena, a 19-year-old, unexpectedly promoted to housekeeper in a Nazi officer’s home during the imminent liquidation of the Jewish ghetto. Driven by a determination to save twelve Jewish workers, Irena shelters them in the safest place she can think of: the basement of the German commandant’s house. The film is a powerful testament to the strength of the human spirit, celebrating courage and the commitment to stand against injustice.
“Marking the Festival of Lights with the regional premiere of Irena’s Vow underscores our dedication to illuminating the dark corners of history. We invite the community, including educators and students, to join us to learn about the heroic Irena, who risked her safety and security for the sake of her neighbors,” said Kate Lukaszewicz, Education Programs Director at Classrooms Without Borders.
Following the film Irena’s daughter, Jeannie Smith, will join via Zoom to provide personal insights into her mother’s story and answer questions. The event concludes with Rodef Shalom’s Cantor Toby Glaser lighting the menorah and leading Hanukkah songs.