Secret Courage: The Walter Suskind Story

Soundtrack for Secret Courage: The Walter Suskind Story, a feature-length documentary about an unsung hero of the Holocaust in Holland, the Resistance members who worked with him, and five of the nearly 1,000 children they saved.

Christopher Hossfeld, piano; Jen Morse, flute; Ethel Farny, flute;
Karen Oosterban, violin; Nathaniel Farny, viola; Evelyn Farny, cello
Recorded at Blue Jay Studio, Carlisle, Massachusetts;
Will Sandalls, Sound Engineer; Tim Morse, Producer

About the Film

Walter Suskind was a German Jew living in Amsterdam who was forced to serve as the Jewish head of deportation at the Hollandsche Schouwburg (the Jewish Theater in Amsterdam), used as the main deportation site in Holland. Using his fluent German, his skills as an actor and businessman, and unfathomable courage and tenacity, he and an intrepid group of resistance workers orchestrated the escape of close to 1000 Dutch children who were marked for transport to the death camps.

In Secret Courage, we hear the stories of five of the saved children in their own words. Eleven of the resistance workers interweave their own stories, painting a picture of an incredible rescue operation fraught with intrigue and danger, but also carrying the moral and ethical dilemma of deciding who could be saved and who could not.

Although Walter took the secret of this mission to his death, these survivors tell his story and reflect on his ability to carry on when others gave up. They leave us to question our own moral code and what each of us might do when faced with such choiceless choices.

To learn more about Secret Courage: The Walter Suskind Story, visit morsephotography.com/suskindfilm.

The Composer’s Notes

It has been a privilege and an honor to compose music for Secret Courage. The nobility of Walter Suskind, his fellow resistance workers, and the survivors has inspired me to reach into my heart and find the most fitting music to underscore their stories. It has been a most humbling and life-changing experience: It is not possible to work on a project like Secret Courage and still be the same person by the end.

The music grows out of the stories, images, and moments that create the film. “Amsterdam” is a vision of the bustling city, before any thought of invasion. “The Germans” is the world’s sadness as the Nazi army invades Holland, and causes so much death and destruction on its people. “Amsterdam Occupied”—a shadow of “Amsterdam”—is the Jewish life in a city occupied by the enemy, a home that is suddenly foreign and perilous. “Variations on a Dutch Folk Song” is childhood innocence amidst chaos. “Sorrow” is the sorrow of a parent asked to give up their child, knowing that he or she might have a better life in the care of strangers. “Suskind’s Death” is an elegy for a hero. “Hope” is the paradox of those who have survived: it lies between the joys of what is had and the sorrows of what is lost.