Unlikely Heroes

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Narrated by Academy Award®-winner Sir Ben Kingsley

“Another eloquent triumph for the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Moriah Films.” – Los Angeles Times

Unlikely Heroes chronicles the yet untold stories of Jewish resistance and individual heroism throughout the Nazi Holocaust. The film utilizes rare film and photos discovered in archives across Europe, and enhanced by weeks of newly filmed sequences in the locations where many of these stories actually occurred.

For most people, the idea of Jewish resistance or defiance during the Holocaust is limited to the heroism of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising and a few isolated acts throughout World War II. Contrary to the view of some that Jews caught in the terror of Hitler's Europe were passive, Moriah Films latest documentary feature presents previously unknown stories of extraordinary men and women who exemplified the highest level of courage and human dignity during the most desperate days of the Holocaust.

Unlikely Heroes highlights seven extraordinary people whose unique and inspiring stories will add a new chapter to the story of Jewish resistance:

  • Pinchas Rosenbaum - a rabbi's son who saw his entire family perish and then joined the underground to rescue Jews.
  • Willy Perl - an Austrian Jew who, in 1938, defied SS Second Lieutenant Adolf Eichmann by going over his head to his superiors in Berlin with a fantastic scheme to allow Jews to go to Palestine illegally.
  • Friedl Dicker Brandeis - the artist who shared her gift with the children of Theresienstadt and taught them to express their pain through art.
  • Leon Kahn – who, after witnessing his sister and father’s murder and then almost his entire village by the Nazis entire village by Lithuanian collaborators, he went on to join the partisans in the forests of Poland, Russia and Lithuania.
  • Robert Clary the well-known actor who, following the Nazi occupation of his native France, was deported to several concentration camps.
  • Recha Sternbuch - a devoutly Orthodox Jew, the daughter of a rabbi, living in neutral Switzerland who led a rescue effort that brought hundreds of refugees to her small town and who sheltered thirty people in her own home.
  • Anna Heilman - Along with one of her sisters and her parents, Anna Heilman was deported to Auschwitz and became part of a plot to steal gunpowder that eventually led to the destruction of Birkenau’s infamous Crematorium #4.


Running time 1 hr, 56 min.

Narrated by
Sir Ben Kingsley

Sound Design
Mark Friedman

Director of Photography
Jeffrey Victor

Film Editor
Lorraine Salk

Jeffrey Victor

Original music score composed and conducted by
Lee Holdridge

Matthew Asner and Lorraine Salk

Screenplay by
Richard Trank

Written and Produced by
Richard Trank and Rabbi Marvin Hier

Directed by
Richard Trank

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