Steal a Pencil for Me is a believable and deeply touching true story of an unimaginable romance in World War II that bloomed in the horrible camps at Westerbork and Bergen-Belsen. Two Dutch Jews, Jaap Polak (1912-2015) and Ina Soep (1923-2014), did what young lovers do, in a sadly minimum way, while they endured the terrors of the camps and struggled to stay alive. Their final escape from Bergen-Belsen, on separate trains bound in opposite directions, kept them apart only for a few desperate months.
In this deliberately understated film, they dance at their 60th wedding anniversary and recount only as much of their experience as we would want—they maintain some privacy, while celebrating their love over so many years.
There is a scene with school children at a memorial WWII camp location. Jaap talks plainly to the kids who are mutely attentive to the old man and perhaps unable to fully grasp the meaning of his words. A mother reminds her children that “this man is Jewish, but he is no different from us.”
Watch Steal a Pencil for Me through Kanopy
Request the book Steal a Pencil for Me: love letters from Camp Bergen-Belsen, Westerbork by Jaap Polak and Ina Soep
Request the DVD of Steal a Pencil for Me through the Minuteman Library Network