Remembering a Stolen Childhood"

(2008, 74 min.)


"We Played Marbles: Remembering a Stolen Childhood" portrays the stories of eleven local survivors and refugees of the Holocaust who recount memories of their childhoods in Austria, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Hungary, and Poland. Their stories illuminate the rich European Jewish culture that was destroyed by Nazi tyranny. They share memories of how their lives were abruptly and forever changed. They tell of loved ones who perished, and of the courageous people who helped them survive. These interwoven narratives are infused with the wisdom and strength that is born out of building new life after loss.


The program was created by filmmakers Louise Palanker and Jennifer A. Reinish in association with Dr. Elizabeth Wolfson, past-Director of Portraits of Survival.


Read Barney Brantingham's interview with Helga Carden on the Independent's website

Live interview with the filmmakers (go to minute 3 on the film)

Housed at the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara, Portraits of Survival has hosted over 7,000 visitors since its inception in November 2003. The Portraits educational program is making a life-changing impact on all those who participate, particularly community youth who engage with survivors around shared issues of identity, belonging, and experiences of being disenfranchised from the general population.


To schedule a program for groups and schools, contact:

Director of Lifelong Learning Samantha Silverman at sams@sbjf.org or (805) 957-1115.


For information on how you can support Portraits, contact:

Executive Director Cyndi Silverman at csilverman@sbjf.org or (805) 957-1115.

Biographies of Project Creators

Louise Palanker
, is an accomplished writer/producer/performer in radio, television, stage and stand-up comedy. As co-founder of Premiere Radio Networks, Louise wrote, produced, performed in and/or executive produced over 20 programs and services for Premiere Radio, the nation’s largest radio syndicator and a division of Clear Channel Communications. She created a program in 2000 at Los Angeles Boys & Girls’ Clubs for youth to learn how to write and perform comedy. Louise produces stand-up comedy shows in and around Southern California, including two weekly shows in Santa Barbara. Louise is currently directing and producing a documentary about the famed 60s family pop band, The Cowsills. For more on Louise: LouisePalanker.com


Jennifer A. Reinish
 first made an appearance in the Santa Barbara Film Festival in 2004 with her documentary "The Aphrodite Project." Since then, Jennie and her production company, Tidepool Pictures, have produced and directed music videos, commercials and corporate documentaries, both locally and nationwide. Jennie has had a variety of experiences in both television and film. Being able to tell the stories of the eleven people in "We Played Marbles" is a great honor for Jennie, and she is grateful for their willingness to speak on camera and open themselves to the possibilities of this film. Jennie's next project is a documentary about the massive efforts involved in fighting California's wildfires, which began production at the height of the Zaca Fire.


Project Associate:
Dr. Elizabeth Wolfson,
Portraits of Survival, (Ph.D., LCSW) is past director of the Portraits of Survival program and of the Jewish Family Service of Greater Santa Barbara. Dr. Wolfson maintains a private practice of psychotherapy in Santa Barbara with individuals and families of all backgrounds. Dr. Wolfson's experience with a wide range of populations has included involvement with Holocaust survivors and their families through counseling and case management and psycho-educational programs on the east coast and in California.


David Shor, past Federation Board Member, is a principal and managing partner of Labrador Media Group, providing financing, production, development and distribution for filmmakers and other artists and of Labrador Pictures, a motion picture production company. "Through film, as well as in our Portraits educational programs, Holocaust survivors offer stories of resilience and re-creation, delivering a message that not every defeat is final. For many of our community members, particularly young people at risk, exposure to these stories allow them to rethink and recreate their own experience into something positive."

We Played Marbles Film Participants
Stella Better
Helga Carden
Fred Jamner
Erika Kahn
Stan “Szymon” Ostern
Bernhard Penner
Gela Baser Percal
Fred W. Perutz
George Rusznak
Maria Segal
Margaret Singer

Holocaust Survivors and Refugees in our Community


The individuals whose lives are featured in "We Played Marbles" and the "Video Portraits" series are participants in this joint, creative and historical endeavor. In addition to being active, accomplished members of our community, they share their stories as a gift to our community with the goal of educating and combating discrimination, racism and violence. Read all the stories here.


"We Played Marbles: Remembering a Stolen Childhood" follows on the success of "Video Portraits of Survival, Volumes One and Two" (made in collaboration with UCSB), which premiered at the Santa Barbara Film Festival in 2006 and 2007 respectively to enthusiastic receptions by 500-plus audience members.