Steve Alderfer as Commander Arthur Fink
Hollywood, Calif. January 18, 2012—launch flix, a production and digital media company, is currently in post-production on a short film, Bashert (Meant to Be), from the award-winning book they optioned from Holocaust Survivor Henry Oertelt, An Unbroken Chain, My Journey through the Nazi Holocaust. The oldest Holocaust museum in the United States, the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, is sponsoring the film.
Bashert details an important evening in Oertelt’s life after he immigrated to Minnesota from Berlin when he met the American commander whose military unit liberated his concentration camp when Henry was on a three-day death march outside Flossenburg, Germany. This exchange is documented in Oertelt’s life story. Oertelt’s granddaughter, Dr. Corey Samuels, is an associate producer on the film.
Steven Spielberg’s Shoah Visual History Foundation made Henry’s life story one of five selected survivor testimonials featured on their Web exhibit from among over 55,000 collected stories in 2005.
launch flix CEO, Stephanie Houser, worked with many people to make this production a reality. Among them was her friend—and writing and producing producing partner—Pamela Lynn Sullivan, who was instrumental in making this project a reality. Additionally, Pam’s nine-year-old daughter, Caroline Sullivan, will make her acting debut, starring as Stephanie “Steffi” Oertelt in the short.
Houser has been a volunteer docent at Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust since the museum opened their new location in October 2010. The museum is celebrating their fifty-first anniversary this year according to Mark Rothman, Executive Director of the museum.
“We are excited to follow the film’s progress as it gets entered to film festivals,” said Mark Rothman. “We look forward to eventually hosting the film in our museum’s screening room,” he said.
launch flix is partnering with the museum in order for people to be able to make tax-deductible donations for the film project. To make a donation, visit http://www.lamoth.org/support-the-museum/ and click on the blue button on the right that says “Donate Now.” Then choose “Bashert: A Short Film” in the drop down menu for the designation option half way down the page.
Born in Berlin Germany of Jewish faith, Heinz (Henry) Oertelt was twelve years old when Hitler came to power in 1933. Oertelt died earlier this year at age ninety on January 27, the International Day of Remembrance of the Holocaust and the anniversary of the day Auschwitz was liberated. One year later, January 27, 2012, Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust is hosting an elaborate community event called the “Mapping Auschwitz Project.”
Henry Oertelt was liberated by General Patton’s Third Army during the Flossenburg Death March in April 1943. He arrived in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1949 and spent 40 years speaking about his experiences and the importance of tolerance, political involvement and confronting hatred. Oertelt was past chairman of the Jewish Community Relations Council and Holocaust education committee. He was recipient of the JCRC’s “Volunteer of the Year” award, as well as the distinguished “Eleven Who Care” honor from KARE 11 TV in Minnesota in May 2006. Additionally, the city of St. Paul, Minnesota proclaimed “Henry A. Oertelt Day” on April 23, 2006.
Henry’s half brother, ninety-seven-year-old Maine resident Kurt Messerschmidt, is currently featured in the first chapter of a new teacher’s curriculum called Echoes and Reflections recently put out by the Anti Defamation League, USC Shoah Foundation and Yad VaShem. You can learn more about the brothers and their story at http://6mfor6m.org.
launch flix is currently fundraising and developing a feature film with a $6 million budget based on the life story of Holocaust survivor and author Henry A. Oertelt. The filmmakers have created a grassroots campaign called $6M for 6M. The goal is to reach six million people willing to donate at least one dollar each, share Henry’s story of confronting hatred and raise awareness for Holocaust education. Tax-deductible donations are currently being accepted.
About the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust
Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust (LAMH) has a two-fold mission that has remained constant since its inception in 1961: commemoration and education. http://www.lamoth.org/.
About launch flix
launch flix is an award-winning production company in Los Angeles. launch flix creates and produces original content films, shorts and Web videos that inform, entertain and educate diverse audiences. They focus on “green” production, internet marketing and profitability to give partners the highest return on their investment. For more information on launch flix, the short film Bashert or the movie, An Unbroken Chain, visit http://www.launchflix.com.