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Classrooms Without Borders, in partnership with South Hills Jewish Pittsburgh, is excited to offer the opportunity to watch the film “Refugee Lullaby” and engage in a post-film discussion with the film director, Ronit Kertsner, and protagonist, Hans Breuer. CWB scholar Avi Ben-Hur will open the discussion.


What motivates a man to leave his home, wife and children on a cold night, to help refugees who are marching towards the border of his country? In the autumn of 2015, Israeli director Ronit Kertsner sees a YouTube video that goes viral: Hans Breuer, Austria’s last wandering shepherd, drives an Arab family across the Hungarian border. He sings Yiddish lullabies for the children to lighten their mood. Ronit starts filming Hans and over a period of three years, creates a portrait of an unusual character who overcomes his own inherited trauma in a highly political and human way. “Refugee Lullaby” is a film about an unusual way of living, moving encounters and devoted solidarity. Connecting Jewish history with current reality, this film is about compassion, its origins, and its boundaries.

Director’s Statement: “When I saw the Muslim refugees fleeing to Europe from horrible wars in the Middle East, I felt I had to do something. I completely identified with these people. It wasn’t so long ago that Jews were marching to the unknown in Europe. I didn’t want to make another film about refugees, but a film about the people who help them. I wanted to understand what motivates them. Refugees will come and go; the question is what can we do about it? When a friend sent me a viral YouTube video of a driver smuggling refugees over the border and singing songs to them in Yiddish, I knew there was a story to be told. I found the driver, Hans Breuer, an Austrian Jew and wandering shepherd. We instantly became online friends, and after a few video chats, he said to me ‘you have to come and make a film’ and so I did… My hope is that after watching the film, people will realize that everyone can make a difference. You don’t need money or big organizations. Even preparing a warm cup of tea in a cold night, can make a difference.” – Ronit Kertsner, filmmaker


Ronit Kertsner

Born in Jerusalem in 1956, Ronit Kertsner is a documentary filmmaker. After her military service, she was admitted to the Cinema Department at Tel Aviv University. Upon completion, she began work as a professional editor, and has edited dozens of documentary films in her career. For the last 17 years, she has directed and produced seven documentaries, including “Menachem and Fred” (2009), “Torn” (2011), “H. I. Jew Positive” (2013), and “Refugee Lullaby” (2019). The daughter of American parents, Ronit is married with two daughters.

Hans Breuer

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“Refugee Lullaby” Post-Film Discussion with Film Director Ronit Kertsner and Protagonist Hans Breuer

Thursday, Jun. 25, 2020 @ 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM


accessibility friendlyhearing impaired accessibleThe full inclusion of people of all abilities is a core value of the Pittsburgh Jewish Community. Please discuss accessibility accommodations with the contact person for this event.

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