Sunday, December 13, 2009

Henry’s turning 89 next month: Help Make this his Best Birthday Ever!

Our friend and living treasure, Holocaust Survivor and author, Henry Oertelt, is turning 89 years old on January 13.

We are adapting his book, An Unbroken Chain, My Journey through the Nazi Holocaust, into a feature film. In his book, Henry examines the eighteen separate but crucial links in the chain of events that kept him alive and ultimately led to his freedom.  From the Nazi foreman who helped him escape the Gestapo, to the SS General who gave him the medical treatment he needed, Henry’s powerful voice retraces the encounters and situations that changed his destiny.  Although often sad and shocking, the remarkable events of Henry’s life, as well as his amazing strength and hope, will touch the lives and hearts of movie goers everywhere.

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 has spent 40 years speaking about his experiences and the importance of tolerance, political involvement, and confronting hatred.  Henry has been married to his sweetheart, Inge, for 63 years and has two children, 4 grandchildren, and one great grandson. 

Oertelt is past chairman of the Jewish Community Relations Council’s (JCRC) and Holocaust education committee and recipient of JCRC’s “Volunteer of the Year” award, as well as receiving the distinguished “Eleven Who Care Honor” from KARE 11 in Minnesota in May, 2006. St. Paul, Minnesota honored him with the key to the city and proclaimed “Henry A. Oertelt Day” on April 23, 2006. Oertelt was also of 52,000 video survivor testimonies filmed for the Spielberg/Shoah project, “Survivors of the Shoah” and from that he became one of five showcased survivors in “Surviving Auschwitz: Five Personal Journeys” for the Shoah Foundation. 

Oertelt is one of the five hundred real life identities given out at the U.S. Holocaust Museum.  He was featured in Dr. Rhoda Lewin's book "Witnesses to the Holocaust, an Oral History" and quoted in Nick Strimple’s “Music in the Twentieth Century.” He was interviewed for NBC News and the "McNeil-Lehrer Report", as well as various Twin City and other TV and radio stations and has been the subject of countless write-ups in a variety of newspapers and magazines.  Oertelt is also one of the more than thirty survivors featured in Robert Sutz’ “Living History exhibit” of life masks. Oertelt is additionally a recipient of three honorary doctorate degrees from St. Cloud State University, South West State University, and St. Olaf College, all in Minnesota.

We also started a 501(c)(3) education fund, Six Million for Six Million, for the film project that will provide tax deductions to donors.  We have estimated the film and marketing budget to be six million dollars. If six million people donate one dollar each, we can make this film.

You can wish Henry a happy birthday and contribute to our campaign in several ways!

Help wish Henry a Happy 89th birthday and be a link in An Unbroken Chain

  • Donate a dollar to the film project at
  • Tweet about our project
  • Post a note on Facebook or MySpace
  • Write a story and post to your blog
  • Invite us to speak to your group
  • Introduce us to a potential investor
  • Share your thoughts in a comment

Thanks for all your continued support! Let’s give Henry a trip to the red carpet for his 90th!

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