"OUTCASTS: A Love Story"
Produced and Directed by Susan Papp of Postmodern Productions
Written by Allen Abel
Outcasts is a quintessentially Canadian story. We are a nation of immigrants. Immigrants from all over the world have built this country and made it what it is today.
Where do these immigrants come from? What happened to them before they arrived? What kind of stories do they bring with them?
OUTCASTS : A Love Story is the story of a Christian man named Tibor Schroeder and a Jewish woman named Hedy Weisz who met and fell in love during the Second World War. The story happens at the worst possible moment � at a time when romantic liaisons and marriage between Christians and Jews is against the law.
The story unfolds in the town of Nagyszollos ��the city of wine� where the ancient realms of Hungary , Ukraine and Czechoslovakia intersect. The town is a multicultural microcosm, full of the life and energy that many languages, religions and cultures bring to a region. The town of 15,000 had at least 17 different churches and synagogues between the Two World Wars. The nationalities and religions had co-existed in this community in peace for centuries.
The documentary starts with the town today and follows two visitors, Tibor's younger brother Bill from Canada and Hedy's younger brother Yitzhak from Israel . They tell the story of the town, its people and the story of the lovers, Hedy and Tibor. We go back and forth in time, from the present to the past-- to the Second World War as the horrors of the Holocaust descend on this hidden corner of Europe . The film concludes in Canada .
Hedy and Tibor pledge their lives to each other, not knowing of the danger and the destiny that await them.
Hedy and her family face exile and possible extermination as they are herded into the ghetto. Tibor is a reservist in the Hungarian forces allied with Nazi Germany. Not only is he a reservist, he is the son of one of the highest ranking officers of the region, a Colonel in charge of the Hungarian press corps.
Tibor makes an elaborate plan for Hedy to escape in a hidden compartment which he built out of ammunition boxes inside a railway baggage car. It was an incredibly brave act, for which, if discovered, he could have been executed on the spot. As one of the interviewees states: �it was a time when life had absolutely little value.�
After one night in the railway car, however, in the film's pivotal scene, Hedy decides to return to the ghetto and her father, brother and little sister.
Miraculously, Hedy and her brother survive the camps and leave their ravaged homeland. Tibor and his younger brother are taken into captivity following the end of the war. A
quarter-century later, Hedy discovers that Tibor has also emerged from the ruins of the World War and is also living in Canada .
In 1967, they meet in Montreal for the first time in a quarter-century. Hedy's younger brother, Yitzhak and Tibor's younger brother Bill, have since become close friends. They tell the tragic story of the fates of their respective families and the ultimate destruction of a multicultural community where different nationalities, cultures and religions lived so well together for centuries.
Outcasts is a story of love and loss, of lives shattered and re-built, of courage and convictions. It is a true story of tragedy and redemption.
The documentary will be completed with subtle dramatizations, archival footage, compelling interviews and a journey back to Nagyszollos, presently in Ukraine .
A book by the same title is planned for publication for Spring of 2009.
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