Holocaust Education Week: Free public screening of the documentary “Kisses to the Children”

The Israel and Golda Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies and The Hellenic Heritage Foundation Chair of Modern Greek History at York University are presenting a special screening of the award-winning documentary Kisses to the Children (original Greek title: Filia eis ta pedia / Φιλιά εις τα παιδιά). The film will be screened at York University on Oct. 29, as part of Holocaust Education Week.

A still from Kisses to the Children
A still from Kisses to the Children

The screening, which is free and open to the public, will take place at 6pm in the Price Family Cinema, Accolade East Building on York’s Keele campus.

Director Vassilis Loules

Written and directed by Vassilis Loules, Kisses to the Children tells the story of five Jewish children Risina, Iossif, Eftyhia, Shelly and Marios, who were sheltered by Christian families in German-occupied Greece. The children lived in total silence in order to avoid detection. In the film, they open up and tell their stories of terror, anguish and confusion, and the salvation and kindness of strangers.

The movie follows each of the central characters from childhood to present day, revealing their hidden stories and invaluable personal documents, which include a diary of a child, photographs and home movies. It also depicts the life of the Greek Jewish communities before the Great War, complemented with rare images of occupied Greece from archival material, as well as amateur films by German soldiers and illegal footage shot by Greek patriots.

The director will be present at the screening for a question and answer session. In 2014, Kisses to the Children was screened at 12 universities across North America. In all events, the director attended and discussed the film with the audience. This tour was sponsored by the University Seminars Program of the Onassis Foundation (USA). In January 2014, it was screened in Paris within the frame of the UNESCO’s events on the occasion of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Kisses to the Children was shot in Athens, Thessaloniki, Ioannina and Chania, Greece, and in Auschwitz, Poland. It was in theatrical release in Athens and Thessaloniki for 10 weeks, it was screened in many Greek towns, won awards at film festivals and received many rave reviews.

The film won the following awards:

  • Greek Film Festival 2012 – Chicago, USA
    Audience Award
  • “Agon” International Meeting of Archaeological Film 2012 – Athens, Greece
    Best Direction Award of the Jury
    Award of the Public
  • Olympia International Film Festival for Children and Young People 2011 – Greece
    Best Feature Length Documentary Award of the International Jury
    Best Feature Length Documentary Award of the Children’s Jury
  • Chalkida Greek Documentary Festival 2011 – Greece
    Best Direction
    Second Best Documentary
    Best Music

For more information, contact Professor Sakis Gekas, Hellenic Heritage Foundation Chair in Modern Greek History, Department of History, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies.