Documentary 'A Wing and A Prayer' scheduled for four East Coast screenings

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A documentary by a Penn State faculty member that tells the virtually unknown story of World War II aviators who risked their lives and freedom in 1948 to prevent a second Holocaust has been scheduled for four screenings on the East Coast in the next few months.

“A Wing and A Prayer” was written, directed and produced by senior lecturer Boaz Dvir. The hourlong film features exclusive interviews by the operation’s secretive key members, including its leader, Adolph Schwimmer, and chief pilot, Sam Lewis.

The upcoming screenings are:

  •  Friday, Feb. 26 (7:30 p.m., New York City) as part of the Brotherhood Film Festival at Congregation Rodeph Sholom in Manhattan (7 W 83rd St.). The event is free and open to the public. A deli dinner will be provided.
  •  Saturday, Feb. 27 (7:30 p.m., Loveladies, New Jersey) at the Long Beach Island Foundation for the Arts and Sciences (120 Long Beach Blvd.). The Lighthouse International Film Society will present a screening and discussion. Admission is $5 for the public and free for film society members.
  •  Saturday, April 16 (7 p.m., Malvern, Pennsylvania) at the Beth Chaim Reform Congregation social hall (389 Conestoga Road).
  •  Wednesday, May 4 (7 p.m., Baltimore, Maryland) at the Center for Jewish Education (5708 Park Heights Ave.).

Dvir will attend the screenings to introduce the film and join the audience in a discussion afterward.

Since it was released nationwide on PBS last year, “A Wing and A Prayer” has aired on more than 150 PBS stations and gained attention from across the country. Along with TV viewers, the film has been screened coast to coast at festivals and special events.

Dvir, creator of the award-winning documentaries “Jessie’s Dad” and “Discovering Gloria,” has been traveling with the screenings regularly. After almost a year of such interactions, he has discovered two consistencies.

“One thing that comes up constantly is that people are surprised,” said Dvir. They simply did not know about the operation and have many questions, he said. Some others who do not ask questions at events follow up with Dvir by email.

Additionally, the film hits home emotionally, in part because it connects to everyone in different ways. It is a story of morality and ethics, as well as a story of bravery.

“I can see the look in their eyes, and I know they are taken by the story,” Dvir said.

With the continued enthusiasm toward the film, Dvir hopes one day the story might be regularly shared in classrooms as a part of a history curriculum.

Last Updated February 22, 2016