Movie ‘Irene’s Vow,’ About Maid Hiding Jews in Nazi Officer’s Basement During Holocaust, Opens in US

Movie ‘Irene’s Vow,’ About Maid Hiding Jews in Nazi Officer’s Basement During Holocaust, Opens in US

Shiryn Ghermezian

Sophie Nélisse as Irene Gut Opdyke in a scene from “Irene’s Vow.” Photo: Fathom Events

A film about the true story of a Polish Catholic woman who risked her life to hide 12 Jews from the Nazis during World War II opened in theaters across the US on Monday.

Irene’s Vow follows the heroic efforts of Irena Gut Opdyke, who worked as a housekeeper in the home of a highly regarded Nazi officer and hid the Jews in the basement of the house for two years during the Holocaust. She protected them amid a number of countless Nazi parties at the home, even after being blackmailed and also as one of the Jews in hiding gave birth to a child.

Opdyke was 19 at the start of World War II and was a nursing student before it began. She died in 2003 and was named by Yad Vashem, Israel’s national memorial to the Holocaust, as Righteous Among the Nations, which is an honor given to non-Jews who risked their lives by saving Jews during the Holocaust. She was also presented with Israel’s Medal of Honor, the country’s highest recognition, and her heroism during the Holocaust is part of a permanent exhibit in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. She is played in Irene’s Vow by Canadian actress Sophie Nélisse.

The film will be screened in theaters throughout the United States on Monday and Tuesday, with a weeklong run in New York and Los Angeles. Each screening will be accompanied by exclusive video footage featuring Jeannie Smith, Opdyke’s real-life daughter; Roman Haller, the baby that was conceived and born in captivity; Dan Gordon, the film’s screenwriter; Nélisse and director Louise Archambault. Gordon also wrote the 2009 Broadway play of the same name that starred four-time Tony nominee Tovah Feldshuh.

“I knew Irene for 10 years at the end of her life and would listen to her tell her story to various groups,” Gordon said. “She was like a grandmother to me. I was determined to get this film made. The story is so improbable, yet it is true. She hid Jews for many months right under a Nazi officer’s nose in his own house.”

Watch the trailer for Irene’s Vow below.


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