In 1998, Tim Morse made a 15-minute video about Walter Suskind for the Wang Center for
the Performing Arts in Boston, a project which left him convinced that the complete story someday
needed to be told.
In 2002, Tim Morse decided that the time had come to create this film. With the support of his wife Karen,
he informed Ries and Netty Vanderpol that it was “now or never”. Tim assembled a small production team, convinced
them to work on a deferred payment basis, and prepared for a trip to the Netherlands.
Through connections made by Ries Vanderpol and Piet Meerburg, interviews were arranged with historians
and journalists, with members of the Dutch Resistance who had worked with Suskind, and with three of the
saved children (now adults). Although initially the team had only a few contacts among this group, each
person involved was enthusiastic about the project and determined to help us with the film. Each contact
led to another, and soon there were seventeen people waiting for the production team to arrive in the Netherlands.
In February 2003, Tim traveled to Amsterdam with Dana Bille, Federico Muchnik and Ries Vanderpol. They traveled to
different parts of Holland, recording seventeen interviews in fourteen days. They made contact with representatives of
The Jewish Historical Museum (Joodes Historich Museum, “JHM”), the Resistance Museum in Amsterdam (Versetzmuseum), and
the Dutch War Documentation Archives (NIOD). They spent days shooting film and photos at locations in Holland where
the story took place. They came home with volumes of film and photos, and a new wealth of knowledge about Walter Suskind
and his story.
During the course of 2003, the interviews were transcribed and catalogued, the script was outlined and story boards
created. Additional research and fact-checking was done and drafts of the script were created. Interviews were conducted
in the U.S. with Hilde Goldberg and Bernie Suskind. Tim also actively pursued funding options for the film, all while keeping
his full-time photography business running.
Because of various other commitments among members of the production team, film production lay dormant for most of 2004.
In early 2005, Tim renewed the effort to complete the film. Karen came on board to run a fund raising campaign and
assist in the editing. In March, Tim, Karen and Dana returned to the Netherlands to research historical photos and
film footage in Dutch archives. They found still photos at JHM and NIOD and spent a long day selecting film footage
at the Netherlands Light and Sound archives (Beeld en Geluid) in Hilversum. Through a series of wonderful connections,
they were also able to record interviews with four additional people, including two more saved children.
April 2005 found Karen & Tim editing and scripting on a daily basis. A private Premiere Party was scheduled for September
and the team worked hard to meet the deadline. Ries and Netty recorded additional historical commentary and Wendie
Skakeeny, a professional voice talent, provided the voice of the narrator.
Christopher Hossfeld immersed himself in the Suskind story to compose a unique and moving musical score.
Dana Bille worked digital magic to restore archival photos and ready them for the film.
After six months of 16-hour workdays, the film was in its final form. On September 26, the Premiere party was held
at the Sorenson Theater at Babson College in Wellesley MA. Eight of the interviewees attended, bringing family and
friends, and joining an audience of over 400 people.
In October 2005, Tim and Chris Temper of Video Transfer in Boston collaborated to improve “Secret Courage”
with some technical enhancements and master the film for duplication. In November 2005, 1000 DVD copies of the
film were delivered in a new “flipper disc” format: Side A in the American NTSC format and Side B in the European
PAL format. Also in November, Chris Temper’s team mastered and duplicated the film soundtrack on CD.