Actor: n/a
Director: Michele Ohayon
Genres: Drama
NR     2008     1hr 33min

STEAL A PENCIL FOR ME is a compelling documentary feature film by Academy Award® nominee Michèle Ohayon about the power of love and the ability of humankind to rise above unimaginable suffering. 1943; Holland is under tota...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: n/a
Director: Michele Ohayon
Genres: Drama
Sub-Genres: Drama
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 05/20/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 33min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 4
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Member Movie Reviews

Marianna S. (Angeloudi) from HOLIDAY, FL
Reviewed on 6/20/2009...
This true story follows the life of Jake (Jaap) and Ina Polak from occupied Holland, to the labor camps of Westerbork, then Bergen-Belsen. They survived in part by writing love letters to each other, even though Jaap was married to another woman in the same barracks as Ina. Using much archival footage, interspersed with the couple today (in their 90s), it is a remarkable testimony to the will to survive the worst atrocity in the modern era.

Movie Reviews

Steal a pencil for me
phyllis nichols-glazer | new york city | 12/30/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

Steal a Pencil for Me The move was so good that I had too get the book and read it too. I think it is a must see move. Just to let pepole know that the Holocaust did take place that 6,0000 Jewish people were killed in concentration camps in W.W.ll and this should and will not happien again."
A love story amidst the horrors of the Holocaust
z hayes | TX | 01/22/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)

""Steal A Pencil for Me" is not a conventional Holocaust story though the people featured in it were Holocaust victims. I say this because the story is mainly an exploration of the relationship between two individuals who fell in love despite the odds being against them. Israeli director Michele Ohayon uses a documentary style to tell the story of Jack (Jaap) Polak, and his wife of 60 years Ina Soep Polak, who met in Amsterdam before the war, when Jack was married to another woman. The pair are instantly attracted to each other despite their very different backgrounds - Jack comes from an average financial background, whereas Ina comes from a wealthy family (her father was in the diamond polishing industry). When WW II breaks out, the pair (together with Jack's wife) end up in the Westerbork transit camp and later get moved to Bergen-Belsen. Throughout their internment, Jack and Ina maintain contact, exchanging letters in secret at a time when paper and pencil were prized commodities (hence the title of the feature which was also a phrase written by Jack in one of his letters to Ina).

I viewed their story with sympathy mainly because Jack's marriage to his wife was already in trouble before he met Ina - his wife was a jealous woman yet treated him almost with indifference, and the contrast between Ina and Jack's first wife was rather startling. The story moves back and forth between the past and the present - the past is often portrayed through the use of old photographs and archival film footage, and in the present we see Jack (at 93, still quite alert with a knowing gleam in his eyes) and Ina still as in love as when they were younger. It was heartening to see Jack still active in Holocaust education, and to know that this couple weathered the most unimaginable horrors and yet were strengthened by their love for each other, makes this a truly moving account.

Great testament of the human spirit...
Cullens_Girl | Germany | 04/28/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This was a real interesting take on the Holocaust. It really shows the "realness" of the lives that it touched. Not everyone might agree with the background of the love story, but it is love none the less and shows basic human nature continued even through the dramatic and painful period of the Holocaust. Jaap and Ina's story is a great testament to the human spirit. The best part of the documentary was when he spoke to the school children as he and Ina walked the path in Westerbrook so many years later. So much can be learned and appreciated from his words. There are adult themes in this so I don't think it would be appropriate for younger audiences."