The Smuggler and Her Charges. A film by Michaël Prazan
Prazan takes us along a personal journey by recounting his father Bernard's escape from Nazi-controlled France as a child in the early 1940s. A fresh life of comfort and wealth is ripped from Bernard and his sister as their parents are sent away on trains never to be seen again.
His story was possible only with the help of a young barmaid, Therese Leopold. She barely knew her young Jewish charges, yet Therese risked everything for their survival and suffered greatly. For her efforts, Therese was turned in by French Gestapo agent Pierre Lussac and spent the war imprisoned in several concentration camps.
Bernard kept these details, among others, from his son, discovered only through investigation. In turn, he was able to live a harsh childhood in hiding throughout the war.
Interviews with Bernard and Therese, well into her 90s at the time of filming, interspersed with dramatized scenes, bring their tragically inspiring tale to life.
Documentary, France, 2016, 81 mn, Institut national de l’audiovisuel / Arte France, with the support of the Foundation for the Memory of the Shoah.
First broadcast on June 13, 2017 on Arte