Home March 2024 Jlife Buzz- The heroism of Irene Gut Opdyke is celebrated in ...

Jlife Buzz- The heroism of Irene Gut Opdyke is celebrated in the new film “Irena’s Vow”

    “Irena’s Vow,” which stars Sophie Nélisse (“Yellowjackets,” 47 Meters Down: Uncaged) and Dougray Scott (Mission: Impossible 2, “Batwoman”), tells the incredible true story of Irene Gut Opdyke a Polish Catholic nurse who through extraordinary courage risked her life to help hide 12 Jews persecuted by Nazi Germany during WWII. Now more than ever, her story is one that deserves to be recognized and is a reminder that even one person can make a difference.
    The film which had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival opened to rave reviews is beautifully directed by Louise Archambault and was written by Dan Gordon (Wyatt Earp, Passenger 57, The Hurricane), who wrote the Broadway play of the same name which starred Tovah Feldshuh.
    The extraordinary heroism of Irene Gut Opdyke (Nélisse) and the triumphs of the human spirit over devastating tragedy is told through the eyes of a strong-willed woman. During the German occupation, Gut, a Polish Catholic nurse, was hired at the age of 19 by Wehrmacht Major Eduard Rügemer, a senior Nazi officer, to work as a housekeeper in his home, which frequently served Nazi officials. When she learns that the Jewish ghetto is about to be liquidated, she is determined to save the lives of the 12 Jewish workers by sheltering them in the safest place she can think of – the basement of the German Major’s house. Over the next eight months, Irena uses her wit, instinct, charm, and immense courage to keep her friends hidden for as long as possible.
    After years of silence regarding her wartime experience, in 1975 Opdyke was convinced to speak after hearing a neo-Nazi claim that the Holocaust never occurred. Opdyke began a public speaking career which culminated in her memoir In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer. Her daughter Jeannie Smith maintains a website in her memory and continues to speak about her mother’s heroism.

Recognition for Irene:
  The Israeli Holocaust Commission named Irene one of the Righteous among the Nations; a title given to those who risked their lives by hiding and saving Jews during the Holocaust.
  She was presented with the Israel Medal of Honor, Israel’s highest tribute, in a ceremony at Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial.          
  The Vatican has also given Irene a special commendation.
  Irene’s story is part of a permanent exhibit in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C.                              
  In 2008 Irene posthumously presented the Commanders Cross—the Polish medal of honor, given by the President and First Lady of Poland.
  In 2009 Irene was presented posthumously the Courage to Care award by the Anti-Defamation League in a special ceremony in Washington DC. 



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