Aviva Kempner’s recent film, A Pocketful of Miracles: A Tale of Two Siblings, is her most personal documentary yet. Kempner has dedicated her professional career to highlighting the lives of Jewish heroes whose inspiring lives are not widely known. Her past films include Partisans of VilnaThe Life and Times of Hank GreenbergYoo-Hoo, Mrs. GoldbergRosenwald and The Spy Behind Home Plate. This time, she turns the lens on her own family, detailing how her mother, Helen (Hanka) Ciesla Covensy, and uncle, David (Dudek) Chase, survived the Holocaust and ultimately found success in America after the war. Helen became an acclaimed artist, with paintings that now hang in the Jimmy Carter Library. David became a wealthy businessman and philanthropist. The film also opens a window on Kempner’s early years as a child born in Germany in 1946 to a Polish mother and U.S. Army journalist Harold Kempner. 

In the film, Kempner weaves together interviews that her mother and uncle gave to the Shoah Foundation in 1997 with postwar footage and family home movies. Her mother and uncle were gregarious, larger-than-life individuals whose strength, pragmatism and zest for life shine through in the film. Kempner hopes this cinematic exploration will inspire others, particularly second- and third-generation Holocaust survivors, to seek out and document their own families’ stories. Read More