Film Synopsis

Following a heart attack, fifty-year-old Peter Vanlaw is haunted by questions about his family.  He delves into his father’s long-held secret and discovers that his family is Jewish.  Upon the death of his parents, he uncovers hundreds of family photos and reels of 16mm film. This wealth of material leads him to family stories of pathos and danger dating back to the early 1900s.

Ultimately,  all are woven into a  film about the discoveries of his heritage, of close relatives he never knew, of the ravages of his mother’s mental illness, of a grandparent’s suicide, and of the lasting damage caused by the Holocaust. His story takes us from California to pre-war Germany, Europe, Asia and beyond.


Shelby Kent-Stewart - Wonderful! How fortunate you are to learn of your rich history. Like wounds, secrets fester in the dark. Thanks for bring yours into the light.

Peter L. Myers - It was years ago. Here is a list that I managed to find.

Pete Vanlaw - Thanks for your kind words. Did the film you saw happen to be “Port of Last Resort”? Reason I ask, Paul Rosdy, the director and producer was very instrumental in my research on Eva. FYI after Chapter 3, I’m going to have an addendum covering who and how I came the details of her incredible story. There a number of books that I was referred to as well. If interested, contact me at my email address:

Peter Myers - Can’t wait to see the full length version. I have always been fascinated about the Jews of Shanghai. As I understand it, there were those who left USSR after 1917 or as Stalin made things worse somewhat later, and those who left Germany as Hitler took over and especially after the screws tightened under the Nazis. I attended a presentation and film on the Jews of Shanghai in which the speaker said that under the Japanese, the Jews did not fair so badly. They thought Roosevelt was Jewish and if the USA won, he’d be happy that they didn’t persecute the Shanghai Jews.

Hope to stay in touch and learn more from you!

Connie Bonak - The photos are wonderful – need to see more….thank you!

Pete Vanlaw - Thanks Peter. We’re hoping it takes on a life of its own.

Peter Braun - congratulation opn the web site and the movie.

Pete Vanlaw - Thanks Woody! That’s why I donated most of my parents’ 16m footage and most of the photos to the Steven Spielberg Library at the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.D.

David Woodhouse - Very powerful, Pete. It is important that WE NEVER FORGET!

Pete Vanlaw - Thanks Rick,
Comming from an artist/photographer of your caliber, that means a lot to me.

Rick Rucker - Pete, I knew you “did movies,” but this, WOW! What a powerful story! Loved the excerpt.

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