Bulgarian Christians and Muslims Protected Jews From Nazi’s

Posted Jan 5, 2003      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version Bookmark and Share

Prize-winning film about Bulgarian Christians, Muslims protecting Jews from Nazis opens Friday

“The Optimists” will open for the first time in the city of Chicago on Friday, Nov. 22, at the 3 Penny Cinema, 2424 N. Lincoln Ave. This follows a very successful five week engagement at the Wilmette Theatre in the northern suburb of Wilmette.

“The Optimists” tells the virtually unknown story of how 50,000 Jews living in Bulgaria survived the Holocaust despite intensive Nazi efforts to deport them to death camps. Fifty thousand Jews didn’t die because Bulgarian Christians and Muslims found ways to protect Jews from their would-be murderers. “The Optimists” explores how different ethnic and religious groups stood by each other in Bulgaria even during the Holocaust.

The film is directed by award-winning filmmaker Jacky Comforty of Evanston, whose family was among those rescued. Comforty has long been determined to tell this story on film. He has painstakingly pieced together a human odyssey that began when he found a box of family photographs in his grandmother’s attic in Jaffa, Israel.
This is a story written about the lives of his family that inspires the courage and humanity of all peoples. “The Optimists” was the name his relatives called the family’s jazz band. (After World War II the band leader, Nico Nissimov, played with Frank Sinatra and Lena Horne.)

This is not only a Jewish story—it is a universal one, powerful in its ability to inspire religious tolerance, civil courage and optimism in all audiences. This film is co-winner of the Peace Prize, Berlin International Film Festival, and winner of the First Prize in the category of “Documenting the Jewish Experience” at the Jerusalem Film Festival 2000.
As an added attraction, beer and wine are now being offered at the 3 Penny Cinema.

For group sales and a personal appearance by director Jacky Comforty, please call (847) 475-0791.

Originally published at http://www.insideonline.com/site/epage/8026_162.htm