STEAL A PENCIL FOR MEMichèle Ohayon’s documentary tells the story of a love affair during the Holocaust between Ina and Jack, who first met in June 1943 when they were living in Amsterdam, when Holland was occupied by the Germans, Jack was still called Jaap – and was married to Manja.
When Jack and Ina meet at a birthday party, Jack falls in love on the spot with 20-year-old Ina, who hails from a family of wealthy diamond dealers. Not only is Jack married; one month later, he and his wife are arrested by the Germans and taken to Westerbork concentration camp. Their relatives are deported to the death camps of eastern Europe, and Ina is brought to Westerbork in the autumn of 1943, where Jack, his wife and Ina are assigned to three neighbouring barracks. Since Manja is understandably against the relationship between Jack and Ina, the couple begin sending each other letters in secret. Their clandestine correspondence continues even after their deportation to Bergen-Belsen in 1944 and is sustained right up to April 1945 when Ina is liberated by the Americans and Jack by the Red Army. Jack divorces, and the two marry in 1946. Following the birth of their two sons, the couple emigrated in 1951 to the USA, where their secret love letters were published as a book in the year 2000. The pair celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in 2006.