A POCKETFUL OF MIRACLES: A Tale of Two Siblings 

Closing Night Film!


Q&A with filmmaker Aviva Kempner, Jonathan Kempner and Sara Chase moderated by Brandeis Professor Sabine von Mering

Beloved (Berlin-born) filmmaker Aviva Kempner, director of Rosenwald, Yoo-hoo Mrs. Goldberg, and The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg, turns her storytelling chops towards her own family’s story of survival, resilience and creativity. Kempner’s mother Hanka (Helen) and her uncle Dudek (David) Ciesla enjoyed an idyllic childhood in Sosnowiec, Poland, until the Nazi invasion and their separation. This moving documentary tells of their harrowing experiences during the Holocaust, their against-the-odds reunion, and their recommitment to life and to each other in the DP camps.

Harold Kempner, a Lithuanian-born Jewish émigré turned US Army journalist, makes a dramatic post-war entry in the narrative, and the romance between Harold and Helen unfolds like a Hollywood love story set against the rubble of 1945 Berlin. Ten months later, our future documentarian Aviva was born and declared the “first Jewish-American born in Berlin.” After immigrating to the US, Helen and David remained close, and both elected never to tell their children or spouses about their wartime experiences. Only now are their stories being told.

Director: Aviva Kempner | USA | 2023 | 106m | English

Tuesday, May 23, 7:00 pm
Coolidge Corner Theatre