“Operation Wedding,” an award-winning documentary that tells the true story of a would-be flight to freedom by a group of Soviet Jews trapped the Iron Curtain, that was originally scheduled to be screened in Stamford in January, has been rescheduled. The film is now scheduled to be screened at Bi-Cultural Hebrew Academy in Stamford on Sunday, April 7 at 7:30 p.m.
In 1970, a group of young Jewish dissidents concocted what became known as “Operation Wedding,” a seemingly outrageous plan to escape from the Soviet Union: Under the pretense of being members of a wedding party, the group purchased all the tickets on a 12-seater flying out of Leningrad, with the intention of hijacking the plane to Scandinavia, and then on to Israel.
But at the airport, just steps from boarding the plane the KGB discovered the plan. The group was arrested and tried for high treason. Sylva Zalmanson, the group’s only woman, was sentenced to 10 years in the Gulag. Zalmanson’s newlywed husband, Edward Kutznetsov, received a death sentence which, thanks to international protests, was soon reduced to 15 years in a labor camp.
The Soviet press called the group “criminals,” but tens of thousands of people throughout the world suddenly awakened to the plight of Soviet Jews – which helped to spark the worldwide movement to liberate Soviet Jewry. Soon, the Iron Curtain would open a crack for 300,000 Soviet Jews wanting to flee, but the group members were held back to pay the price of freedom for everyone else.
Mixing archival footage with present day interviews, the film’s director, Anat Zalmanson-Kuznetsov, who is the daughter of Sylva and Edward, sets out with her mother to retrace the group’s journey from a Soviet airport to a KGB prison.
Following the screening, Zalmanson-Kuznetsov will be on hand from Israel via Skype, for a question-and-answer session.
Bi-Cultural Hebrew Academy is located at 2186 High Ridge Road in Stamford, Admission to the screening is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.
For information or to RSVP, contact Denise Rafailov: firstname.lastname@example.org, (203) 329-2186 x1310, (917) 975-2426.