My friend and Emmy award-winning documentarian, Julie Canepa, recently published her WW11 novel, The Missing Star. It's a historical piece based on the true love story of Vladimir Munk and Kitty Löwi, Czech Jews from Terezin (now in the Czech Republic), who survived imprisonment in Auschwitz in the early 1940s. It's a remarkable story of love, "resistance - at least in their minds," and resilience. Julie met Vladimir, 96 (and one of the last several survivors of that terrible death camp), several years ago as they live in the same town in Plattsburgh, New York.
Julie's remarkable story is coming off the heels of her documentary about Vladimir titled: Return to Auschwitz: The Survival of Vladimir Munk. Here is the blurb from Mountain Lake PBS: A new film tells the moving story of retired SUNY professor and Czech Holocaust survivor Vladimir Munk, who, at age 95, returns to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp where he was held prisoner during World War II. The trip would be his last chance to honor thirty of his close relatives, including his parents, who were killed at Auschwitz, the most notorious of the Nazi death camps.
Joining Vladimir on his journey were two filmmakers and a good friend, a writer, and producer from the North Country. Julie Canepa, Bruce Carlin, and Paul Frederick teamed up to produce the film.
I met Julie in the first Writing in Community in June 2020 and ended up in the same cohort (2). We didn't know what we were doing initially except writing daily, but we found each other by reading each other's work and generously commenting when we could. I zoned in on Julie's story of Vladimir and his time spent in Auschwitz, intrigued by what she wrote from the beginning stages. Her trip to Poland with Vladimir was in early January of 2020 (and cold!), and we bonded over her sharing the experience with me of their entire trip (Poland is my ancestral homeland).
The book will be a potent reminder of the horrors of war, yet love was found during the most terrible times and prevailed above all else. I am so proud of Julie and Vladimir for sticking to and sharing the project with the world.
If you are a WW11 buff, please consider reading The Missing Star and watching the hour-long documentary. Both links are below:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_kzB50nJFY (2:30 preview of the documentary)