“Across the Waters” to Mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day

To commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, Mystic Seaport, the Jewish Federation of Eastern Connecticut, and the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, will co-host a special screening of the 2016 Danish film “Across the Waters,” which tells the story of a Jewish musician and his family who make a frantic escape from Nazi-occupied Denmark. The screening (Danish with English subtitles) begins at 2 p.m., Saturday, January 27, at Mystic Luxury Cinemas in Olde Mistick Village.

The story takes place in 1943, the same year that the Danish lighthouse tender Gerda III was smuggling Jews from Denmark to safety in Sweden. Gerda III belongs to the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City and is on display at Mystic Seaport. In 1943, the boat was used by Henny Sinding, the 22-year old daughter of a Danish Navy Officer who commanded the country’s Lighthouse and Buoy Service, and a four-man crew, to rescue Jews. The refugees were brought to a warehouse along Copenhagen’s waterfront and smuggled aboard Gerda III, hiding in the cargo hold.

The little vessel then set out on her official lighthouse supply duties, but detoured to the coast of neutral Sweden. Although the vessel was regularly boarded and checked by German soldiers, the refugees were never discovered. Gerda III rescued approximately 300 Jews, in groups of 10 to 15. Of the 300 boats that participated in the evacuation, Gerda III is believed to be one of only three that remain afloat.

On Saturday, January 27, the event will start at 2 p.m. with an introduction and remembrance by Jerome E. Fischer, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Eastern Connecticut. That will be followed by a short presentation on Gerda III’s story by Howard Veisz, a Mystic Seaport volunteer who has exhaustively studied the boat’s history. Veisz is the author of “Henny and Her Boat,” the story of Gerda III and the rescue of 300 Jews. Tickets are $20 for Mystic Seaport members, and $22 for non-members. Tickets may be purchased in advance by calling the Museum’s Central Reservations at 860.572.5331, or at the door the day of the event at Mystic Luxury Cinemas.