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Irena’s Vow Community Film Event

Sunday, December 10, 2023 @ 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm EST

Irena’s Vow is a remarkable tale showcasing

the triumph of the human spirit over tragedy.



McConomy Auditorium at Cohon University Center
Carnegie Mellon University
5032 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Join Classrooms Without Borders in partnership with The Collaboratory Against Hate, the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh, and CMU’s International Film Festival for the Pittsburgh-area premiere of the feature film Irena’s Vow.

Following the film Irena’s daughter, Jeannie Smith, will join via Zoom to provide personal insights into her mother’s story and answer questions. The event concludes with Rodef Shalom’s Cantor Toby Glaser lighting the menorah and leading Hanukkah songs.

Given the dark days we have experienced since war broke out in Israel, our community invites you to join us for this Community Event. As we light the Hanukkah candles, let us come together, raising our voices to honor the festival of lights. Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, encompasses themes of miracles and divine intervention, freedom and independence, rededication and renewal, light in darkness, family and togetherness, tradition and heritage, resilience and perseverance, community and unity, gratitude, and the importance of education and learning. These themes collectively symbolize the holiday’s significance in Jewish tradition, emphasizing the enduring values and lessons it imparts.

Irena’s Vow stands as a powerful reminder of the indomitable human spirit in the face of the Holocaust’s darkness, illuminating the triumph of courage, compassion, and resilience in the most challenging of times connecting us

In this captivating narrative featuring Sophie Nélisse, Dougray Scott, Andrzej Seweryn, and Maciek Nawrocki, the true story of Irena Gut Opdyke unfolds. This tale revolves around the resilience of the human spirit in the face of immense tragedy. Irena Gut, a 19-year-old, is unexpectedly promoted to housekeeper in a Nazi officer’s home just as the Jewish ghetto faces imminent liquidation. Fueled by a determination to save twelve Jewish workers, she makes a bold decision to shelter them in the safest place she can think of: the basement of the German commandant’s house. Over the next two years, Irena relies on her wit, humor, and unwavering courage to conceal her friends until the conclusion of the German occupation. Her story is a testament to the enduring power of the human spirit, marked by the incredible feats of bravery amidst a backdrop of Nazi parties, a daring blackmail scheme, and the birth of a child. Irena Gut Opdyke’s journey is undoubtedly one of the most inspirational stories of our time.

Thank you to our partners:


Sunday, December 10, 2023
3:00 pm - 6:00 pm EST


Jared L. Cohon University Center
5032 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213 United States
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