A Letter to Mother
aka The Eternal Song
Public Exhibition Formats: 35mm, 16mm, Beta
"A Letter to Mother was director Joe Green's last film and his favorite from among his own films."
-J. Hoberman, Bridge of Light: Yiddish Film Between Two Worlds
This tale of family disintegration and poverty serves as a metaphor for the displacements facing European Jews in 1939. One of the last Yiddish films made in Poland before the Nazi invasion, the film tells the story of a mother's persistent efforts to support her family. While her husband lives in America, Dobrish struggles to care for her three children in pre-WWI Polish Ukraine. After her family is pulled apart by severe poverty and the turmoil of war, Dobrish and her family make their way to New York and turn to the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) in search of a brighter future.
Released on September 14, 1939, two weeks after the German blitzkrieg over Poland, this film opened to packed audiences at the Belmont Theater in New York. Hailed by the New York Times as one of the best Yiddish films to reach America, A Letter to Mother was the highest grossing Yiddish film of its time.
NCJF Film Restoration
Preservation and restoration was made possible by Rita and Stanley H. Kaplan in memory of Gladys and Saul Gwirtzman with additional funding by Brandeis University, The American Film Institute, The Massachusetts Cultural Council, The National Endowment for the Art and The National Endowment for the Humanities
Restoration © The National Center for Jewish Film
Executive Director Sharon Pucker Rivo
Associate Director Miriam Saul Krant
Research Consultant Sylvia Fuks Fried
Technical Director Richard Pontius
Additional Titles Moshe Waldoks
Title Production Loren S. Miller
Title Animation Frame Shop
Laboratory John E. Allen, Inc.
Director/ Producer Joseph Green
Screenplay Mendel Osherwitz, Joseph Green, Leon Tristan, Anatol Stern
Art Director Rotmil Goldman, Morris Goldman
Film Editor J.M. Neuman
Photography Seweryn Steinwurzel
Digital Site Licensing (DSL) available - Contact us
Step down pricing for K-12 & public libraries may be available - Contact us
Arrange a screening - Contact us
Also Directed by Joseph Green