Personal documentary about a Jewish family going into hiding in Drenthe.
JACOBA tells the story of a Jewish family that was hidden during World War II by Jacoba Omvlee, a Christian widow living in the eastern Dutch province of Drenthe.
Film maker Joram ten Brink owes his existence to a letter flung from a train bound for the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz 46 years ago.
The letter to his grandparents from their 16 year old son, Leo, who was murdered soon afterwards, was written in Dutch under the eyes of Nazi guards. Yet hidden in the text was a single Yiddish word, “weyiverig”, meaning: “HIDE YOURSELVES!”
It was enough to persuade the Jewish ten Brink family to flee and set in motion a rescue to compare with the inspiring story of Anne Frank.
The ten Brinks escaped the Nazi round-ups of Jews and were given shelter by an extraordinary Christian woman, Jacoba Omvlee, who hid them in a tiny attic in het windmill in a neighbouring village.
There was barely enough space to move and the four ten Brinks -the film maker’s father, grandparents and great uncle- were unable even to stand up during the day for fear of attracting attention.
But for three long years Mrs Omvlee, a devout Calvinist, risked her own life and the lives of her eight children to defy both the Nazis and the local Dutch collaborators and saved the family.
Joram ten Brink’s stunning, intimate and beautifully photographed film is part documentary, part dramatization of the events of 1942-45 with Jacoba’s own grandchildren acting out the lives of the Jews in hiding.
JACOBA tells not only the story of his family’s survival but of their centuries-old way of life in the eastern Dutch province of Drenthe, where the ten Brinks lived and worked, often as cattle dealers and small shopkeepers.
Set against the stark, empty landscapes of the region, this highly original film explores and evokes the still-glowing legacy of the rescue for both the Omvlees and ten Brinks who grew up after the war. JACOBA is a highly-personal testimony and a celebration to the spirit of resistance.
Most of all, it is a celebration of the quiet, practical heroism of a complex, middle-aged woman who simply refused to be a party to evil – the story of Jacoba.
Salco Ten Brink
Hendrina Ten Brink
Jozef Ten Brink
Meijer Ten Brink
Leo Ten Brink (voice)
script & direction: Joram ten Brink
camera: Goert Giltaij
light: Ton Peters
sound: Lukas Boeke
costumes: Coby Omvlee
make-up: Anita Wering
music & arrangement: Eric Hennes
editing: Ton de Graaff
re-recording mix: Jan van Sandwijk
production manager: Stienette Bosklopper
producer: René Scholten
this film is a co-production of Studio Nieuwe Gronden with NOS televisie
this film is financially supported by:
Fonds voor de Nederlandse Film
Etty Hillesum Stichting
Nieuwsblad van het Noorden
Inhabitants of Nieuw-Amsterdam en Veenoord