Becoming Henry

A short film based on a true story from the book, An Unbroken Chain: My Journey though the Nazi Holocaust by Henry A. Oertelt.

A German immigrant is questioned during a cocktail party in Minnesota regarding his whereabouts during World War II…and discovers that the world can be a very small place.


Henry Oertelt and his new wife survived the Holocaust. In the early 1950’s, they immigrated to Minnesota from Berlin. Henry, like many Survivors, originally never wanted to talk about his experiences in Germany during the Holocaust. However, he and his wife attended a party where Arnold Fink, one of the guests was very nosy and kept pestering him with questions. Henry tried to dodge him but he was very persistent. Finally, Arthur extracted the information he was looking for– the time and place of Henry’s liberation. They discover that both of them were there at the exact same time!  Arnold was actually the American officer who had stopped his vehicle in front of Henry’s tired marching group of survivors after a three-day death march outside of Flossenberg. Arthur had given them their first directives at the moment of the return from their so long-awaited freedom. He then described the very scene of Henry’s liberation from his angle.

This prompts Henry to share his story of survival publicly for the first time. A schoolteacher overhears their conversation and asks Henry to speak to her students. Although Henry initially says no, he goes on to speak to students and community groups for the next 40 years.

About Henry Oertelt

Holocaust Survivor Henry Oertelt was liberated by General Patton’s Third Army during the Flossenburg Death March in April, 1945. He arrived in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1949 and spent 40 years lecturing about his experiences and the importance of tolerance, political involvement, and confronting hatred until he died at age ninety on January 27 – International Remembrance Day of the Holocaust. Oertelt was a member of the Jewish Community Relations Council’s (JCRC) Holocaust Education Commission, a recipient of JCRC’s “Volunteer of the Year” award, as well as recipient of the distinguished “Eleven Who Care” honor from KARE 11-TV in Minnesota. On April 23, 2006, St. Paul, Minnesota, honored him with the key to the city and proclaimed “Henry A. Oertelt Day.” Oertelt was additionally a recipient of three honorary doctorate degrees from St. Cloud State University, South West State University and St. Olaf in Minnesota.


About launch flix

launch flix is an award-winning digital media and production company that creates and produces original content like films, shorts, and web videos that inform, entertain and educate diverse audiences.

About Stephanie Silverman Houser

Stephanie Silverman Houser

In 2008, Stephanie Silverman Houser started launch flix, a hybrid production and digital media company. Stephanie wrote and produced Becoming Henry. She is a passionate storyteller – a natural promoter and saleswoman- and has a keen understanding of all phases of promotion, especially online marketing, social media, and grassroots efforts; she currently blogs about the entertainment industry and digital media.  Stephanie is also a volunteer docent for the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust. Follow her on Twitter @launchflix or on Facebook.com/launchflixmedia.


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