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Walter Suskind
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In 1998 Tim Morse was working as a free-lance photogrqpher/videographer with the Wang Center for the Performing Arts in Boston. The Wang Center was celebrating the 10th anniversary of the “Suskind Young at Arts” program (an outreach program for youth in the Boston area) and hired Tim to create two short videos to commemorate this anniversary.

The first video was a tribute to Ries Vanderpol who had created the Walter Suskind Memorial Education Fund in 1988 and who had shepherded it through a decade of growth. After just one interview with Ries and his wife Netty, Tim found himself taken by the Suskind story, and very fond of the Vanderpols.

Ries Vanderpol and his wife, Netty, are Dutch Holocaust Survivors who are responsible for bringing the story of Walter Suskind to public attention in both the Netherlands and the United States. To read their story in Ries’ own words, go to Ries Vanderpol’s Story.

Production of the second video, a 15-minute short film of the Walter Suskind Story, sent Tim and his wife/partner Karen to Amsterdam with Ries to meet with Piet Meerburg (head of the Amsterdam Student resistance group during the war) and to do some archival research. What they learned on that trip was that Suskind was mentioned only briefly in historical accounts and that his story had never been fully documented and recorded. At that time they knew that someday they would tell the complete story of Walter Suskind and the rescue operation.

In 2002, Tim grew increasingly frustrated by the overuse of the term “hero” in American society. He believed that friends who had died on September 11, 2001 deserved our respect and that firefighters and police who saved people on September 11th and every day were heroes, but that professional athletes earning huge salaries and rock stars singing for fundraisers did not belong in the same category. He felt that the story of Walter Suskind, a true unsung hero, needed to be told. Karen agreed with him and Tim approached Ries and Netty about making this film. In March of 2003, the first production team traveled to the Netherlands.

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