Unusual espionage: In 1943, the British secret service hired the services of eastern Europeans who had emigrated to Palestine with the aim of having them engage in espionage activities in their former home countries. They were to help track down allied fighter pilots that had gone missing in Romania, Yugoslavia, Hungary and Slovakia. An agreement with the Jewish Agency further stipulated that they would simultaneously research the extent of the persecution and mass murder of the Jews and explore possible escape routes.
The story of these spies recruited by the MI9 military intelligence department is largely unknown. With their knowledge of languages, this small group of eastern European Jews was predestined to work in their native countries. Unlikely spies, they had to be familiarised with everyday life and the now different use of language in the German-occupied or fascist collaborationist Quisling regimes. Their tasks included looking for escape routes for captured pilots, collecting information on the persecution of the Jews and examining possibilities for rescue operations. Oana Giurgiu approaches what is a complex subject matter by giving it the form of an aesthetically impressive photo-story: Archive recordings alternate with re-animated photos and interview footage with descendants in order to make the personal experiences of those involved accessible and convey the oppressive atmosphere of the 1940s. Giurgiu is concerned with the "simple, personal stories which are to be found behind the 'great historic deeds', as important moments in the history of a people are often described. In my film, the 'big history' will be built from personal stories."
Text: Bernd Buder
Weltspiegel Room 2: Original version with English subtitles
Paul Ipate, Ioan Paraschiv, Mihai Nita, Daniel Achim, Claudia Droc,
Libra Film Productions
Oana Giurgiu - PRODUCER, CO-FOUNDER AND CO-DIRECTOR TRANSILVANIA FILM FESTIVAL CLUJ-NAPOCA | RO
A lawyer and journalist by training, she began her film work with Cristi Puiu's THE DEATH OFMR. LĂZĂRESCU (2005). She produced films by Tudor Giurgiu, Peter Strickland, Cristi Puiuand co-produced titles by Agnes Kocsis(Rotterdam IFF 2020), Ivan Ostrochovsky (Ber-linale 2020) and Selman Nacar (San Sebastian 2021), among others. She directed the documentaries ALIYAH DADA (2015) and OCCASIONAL SPIES (2021).