Jewish Orphans Appearing in a Film | Photograph | Wisconsin Historical Society


Jewish Orphans Appearing in a Film

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Jewish orphans between takes while appearing in Fred Zinneman's film, "The Search"; Germany. Saul Sorrin was interviewed as part of the Wisconsin Survivors of the Holocaust Interviews project. Sorrin, born in New York in 1919, applied in 1940 for a position with the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA). He worked with Holocaust survivors as a supply officer for UNRAA team 560 at the Displaced Persons camp Neu Freimann Siedlung in Germany and later, at General Dwight D. Eisenhower's recommendation, Sorrin became the Area Director of the International Refugee Organization based at the Wolfratshausen DP camp in Bad Kissingen. Part of Sorrin's interview includes Sorrin speaking about the photos he took while serving for the International Refugee Organization and the UNRRA. When asked about this image, Sorrin revealed "Yes, I know what this is. These are Jewish children who are orphans and who were in an orphan home. Some of the children whom we have found who are now in Israel someplace. Now they were taken by a movie company. I think I mentioned this to you. Fred Zinnemann was the director of a motion picture called "The Search". It dealt with the story of a woman, she was not Jewish, who during the war was separated from her child and after the war began the business of searching for him. The child is in the meantime found in the wreckage of the immediate postwar period by Montgomery Clift acting as an America soldier. He takes the child, there's a period where the child is not trustful of anybody and portrays that, and then he wins the trust. Then the woman somehow or other finds the child. I remember she was a Czech opera star who played this role. And there was an American actress who played the role of a UNRRA worker. I remember she wore the patch, UNRRA. Aline MacMahon. I don't know whether you remember that actress but she was a fine actress. Despite her name, she was Jewish. She was married to Horace MacMahon, a famous actor. They used the children to play the role. These children are dressed in the costumes as they saw them as refugee waifs, childless waifs, and they are in between takes. They were sitting on the ground in this Kaserne, in this building, and they're in between movie takes. Zinnemann directed "High Noon". He's still directing. He's an Austrian. And we supplied them with the children. They gave each child candy and cookies and each child got a watch as a gift which was a tremendous thing for those children. They were very good. They were supposed to run someplace and shout with glee and then he took another take. He wasn't quite sure of that. They did it over and over again. This picture shows the children sitting on the ground between the takes. I lent them a lot of gasoline out of our stores, you know, for their trucks and their cars. I lent them some other things that they could use and I did it unofficially but we never got it back. I pursued them. I said, 'Where's my gas? Where's my this, that?' And they left. But we were proud about our role in the making of this movie, which I think was shown here about 1948." Interview by Jean Loeb Lettofsky and David Mandel, March 3, 1980.


Image ID: 57496

Creation Date: 1947 

Creator Name: Sorrin, Saul




Collection Name: Wisconsin Survivors of the Holocaust Interviews, 1974-1975, 1980-1981

Genre: Photograph

Original Format Type: negative, b/w copy

Original Format Number: PH 3187.20.9

Original Dimensions: 35mm




Clothing and dress

Holocaust survivors


Motion pictures

Outdoor photography



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