Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Vera Gissing - April 22, 2006

Film Proposal of Experience

Did he read the manuscript?

Yes, he wanted to read the manuscript and he took it home and he said, "Not only did I enjoy the story, it'll make a beautiful book--but it'll also make a wonderful film and I know just the man." And, you know, the film was on its way of being made and, in fact, they worked on it for two years and put nearly a million po...uh, pounds in it, but then there was a recession in the film business.

But you wrote--you pretty much wrote the screenplay for them, didn't you?

For M...Matej?


Oh yes. It wasn't just the screenplay. I uh, right from the word "go" Matej saw my book in Czech in the Jewish Museum or li...in the Jew li...library, because its come out in many languages. It's coming out next month in Japanese.


Yeah, even Japanese. Anyway so uh, uh, when he found the book he was absolutely over the moon and he put--used part of it uh, for uh, all my loved ones into the film. I don't know if you've seen it, but if you saw the first film on--of a Czech Jewish pre-war and how the ??? turned great and how suddenly he had--he, he could use Nicky Winton with his permission and through me and, and he could use the scene to save the youngest child of that family, you know, came to England. And as I said, it was fictitious but lovely, lovely film. You should ask them to show it to you, really. And he used the--of the uh, passages and uh, the diary and, and various things--with my permission again in this, in this film. That's how it started. And, of course, when he heard that apart from Pearls of Childhood I had spent three years researching and putting together the story of the transports and, and interviewing masses of kids and, and you know, I'm doing--I just wanted to say thank you to Nicky, and I couldn't think of a better way than doing, doing that. And I spent about a--I spent a whole week--I was supposedly in Prague on holiday, and he came with his laptop every morning about six o'clock, you know. And he was so enthusiastic that I was very glad to sacrifice my holiday to tell him everything, and then I helped with everything. I gave him all the contacts, I gave him even, you know, the uh, photograph--not the sh...not photograph--the shot where Nicky in his young days is holding the child...

Holding the child.

...and the people are waving. I mean, I knew where he could get it in America because I was--I had happened to meet a lady who made a little film and was a--and used that, you know. So it, it was just great. And, and what I appreciated was that he's not--he's young, and he's act...he felt in his heart it's a story that's got to be told on film, as well as in book. And that he was willing to uh, risk his shirt, you know, to do it.

[interruption in interview]

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