“Return to the Hiding Place,” a new film based on a true account of Corrie ten Boom’s secret army of untrained teenagers who rescued Jews from the Nazi Gestapo during the Holocaust, will hit theaters Oct. 24 after outperforming big-budget Hollywood showings in its initial release.
Based on Hans Poley’s autobiographical book, the movie highlights themes of endurance, perseverance and faith through Poley’s experiences as a student resistance fighter during World War II.
The message echoes the story of Anita Dittman, told in her book “Trapped in Hitler’s Hell.”
Published in early May, Dittman’s book was accompanied by a documentary movie directed by George Escobar.
A German teenager caught up in the deadly events of World War II and Nazism, Dittman was abandoned by her Aryan father, imprisoned and separated from her mother when the Gestapo forced them into a concentration camp.
Reviewers of the book and movie say her desperate struggle for survival is a stirring inspiration and tribute to the timeless power of the human spirit and uncompromising trust in God.
“Return to the Hiding Place” is raising the awareness of the intrepid band of people who saved victims of the Holocaust.
Initially premiering in a sold-out screening at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, the film has garnered several awards.
It was selected as best feature film at the Bel-Air Film Festival, Central Florida Film Festival, San Antonio Christian Film Festival and Life Fest Film Festival. It has also been recognized by Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
The film’s award-winning director, Peter Spencer, said “Return to the Hiding Place” depicts “a great story with real historical characters brought to life in a stunning account of self-sacrifice for the greater good.”
“It captures a moment in time that will impact society for generations to come,” Spencer said.
Joseph Farah, CEO of WND Books, explained the uniqueness of Dittman’s story: “‘Trapped in Hitler’s Hell’ is like ‘Return to the Hiding Place’ on steroids. This book is pure action â from start to finish.
“Anita Dittman’s story is powerful and gripping and provides an insight into the nightmarish world of Nazi Germany that could only come from a survivor of the Holocaust. She also has the additional experience of life in America since the war, and is an outspoken critic of the direction of our country in recent years, seeing many parallels between what happened in Germany and what is happening here today.”
The book includes special notes from the author stressing her belief in the continuing need to be diligent not to forget the atrocities of the Holocaust and not to allow history to repeat itself.
Dittman was just a small girl when the winds of Nazism began to blow through her native Germany. A Jewish child abandoned by her Aryan father and orphaned when Nazis took her mother, Anita was eventually captured and forced to perform back-breaking labor in a concentration camp.
Hans Poley was a brilliant, young, Dutch student when the Nazi war machine rolled through the Netherlands. His parents placed him in hiding in a private residence in Haarlem, where he witnessed the atrocities Jews were suffering and decided he must do something.
The residence was the secret home to a number of Jews, Dutch resistance fighters such as Piet Hartog and a woman named Corrie ten Boom, whose account of those days became the best-selling book and film “The Hiding Place.”
“Return to the Hiding Place” tells of how Poley, Hartog and their friends â as part of ten Boom’s army of untrained teenagers â navigated a deadly labyrinth of challenges to rescue Jews. They embarked on a nonstop, action-packed hunt with the underground involving Gestapo hijacks, daring rescues, codes in old windmills and stunning miracles in one of history’s most famous dramas.
The film climaxes in the breathtaking rescue of an entire orphanage of Jewish children marked for mass execution by Hitler’s assassins.
A trailer for “Return to the Hiding Place”:
Dittman's equally amazing story recounts how her native Germany traded liberty for a promise of security, a lesson that is as relevant today as it was 70 years ago.
"Anita Dittman's story is one for the ages," Farah concludes, "and she tells it with grace and perspective and an eye to the world's future."
The trailer for "Trapped in Hitler's Hell":