Film tells story of daring attack on train to Auschwitz – Jewish Journal

Simon Gronowski at the spot where he jumped
In a scene from the film “Transport XX to Auschwitz,” Simon Gronowski stands at the spot where he jumped from the train almost 70 years ago. Still : Marc Van Roosbroeck/Michel van der Burg . Click image for link to watch the entire film.

News by Jewish Journal reporter David Schwartz  (October 24, 2012) from the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival (FLIFF) .

Transport XX to Auschwitz‘ film tells story of daring attack on train to Auschwitz.

When Rachelle Bashe was a child, she dreamed about her father’s escape from a train carrying Belgian Jews to Auschwitz. Bashe, 77, of Boynton Beach was reminded of her dreams when a reporter called to talk about the documentary film “Transport XX to Auschwitz.” The film will be screened at the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival later this month and in early November.

“It’s just unbelievable,” an emotional Bashe said when she realized that her father was one of the more than 200 persons on the 20th train convoy who escaped on the night of April 19, 1943 during a daring attack by three Resistance fighters carrying a red railroad lamp, a pair of pliers and a pistol.

Bashe said her mother told her that her father escaped from a train but never returned home. She eventually learned that he was captured later, survived three concentration camps and died in 1945 during a death march. “It does help in a way that I am realizing that what is in my subconscious is not really a dream or a nightmare,” Bashe said.

Richard Bloom, the film’s director and a Palm Beach Gardens resident, said the story of the attack on the train is well known only in Belgium and the Netherlands.

Bloom said he learned about the attack when he was doing research on events in which Jews fought back against their captors. “It was a little footnote,” he said. “I kind of filed it away in my mind.”

Only one of the three attackers and a few escapees were alive when Bloom and Dutch producer Michel van der Burg started work on the film, which took three years to complete. Simon Gronowski, who jumped from the train as it approached a small hill, is one of the escapees interviewed in the film.

Others appear in interviews from the archives of the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education.

In an email from Holland, Van der Burg said he learned about the attack on the train during a visit to Brussels in February 2009. While he was there, Van der Burg filmed people looking at a display of the portraits of 1,200 people who were on a train to Auschwitz.

When Van der Burg returned home, he created a short video and on the anniversary of the attack, put it on one of his You Tube channels. A special, one minute cut from the video was shown at a theater in Amsterdam two years ago.

After Bloom contacted Van der Burg for permission to use clips from the You Tube video in a documentary about the 20th train convoy, Van der Burg got interested in working on the film.

“I had to further study the Holocaust, and especially the Belgian holocaust,” Van der Burg said. He had no idea at the time that he would work for two years translating and editing interviews, creating subtitles, reporting and interviewing.

Interviews tell the stories of the attack and the escapes.

The filmmakers said the attack on convoy 20 is thought to be the only documented attack on trains that carried more than three million European Jews to concentration and extermination camps during the Shoah.

Trains from Mechelen, Belgium transported more than 25,000 Jews to Auschwitz-Birkenau between August 1942 and July 1944. Only about 1,200 survived.

The Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival will screen “Transport XX to Auschwitz” at 4 p.m. on Oct. 27 at the Cinema Paradiso, 111 Southeast Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale and at 3:15 p.m. on Nov. 3 at the Sunrise Civic Center Theater, 10610 W. Oakland Park Blvd., Sunrise.

For information and tickets, visit or call 954-525-3456.

From the Florida Jewish Journal (South Florida Sun-Sentinel) .
Link story:,0,4541453.story

Trailer Transport XX to Auschwitz

NL (dutch) – Film vertelt verhaal van gewaagde aanval op trein naar Auschwitz |

Link to full post with all updates on Documentary film “Transport XX to Auschwitz”


March 2013 – the article is archived only partially (photo missing) at the Sun-Sentinel site
Jan. 16,  2019  – In recent years the SunSentinel site is unavailable in most European countries. Post now updated with full details of the David A. Schwartz 2012 report. Also added links to post Documentary film “Transport XX to Auschwitz”. Trailer now also embedded.
Link to new post on this site in dutch ‘Film vertelt verhaal van gewaagde aanval op trein naar Auschwitz’ , published before in my blog at the Belgian news paper