The documentary about the preacher of his chant is spreading all over the world

Herbert Zwartz spreekt het slotgedicht in het Engels in voor de Amerikaanse versie van de documentaire (Foto: RTV Oost)

His Ovardian hymn preacher saved hundreds of Jews from the hands of the Germans during the war years. He never spoke about it himself and also refused any form of confession. The documentary “Leendert Overduin, the conscience of the city” revolves around an extensive network of pastors, and as a result he was able to save hundreds of Jews from transportation to Germany. At least half of the Jews of his song were saved in this way. 1,200 people who helped Overduin survived the war.

Anchidir Willie Berndes has made a documentary on this topic with the Cars Pelstra of Den Hamm. Eric Dykstra is the storyteller. The documentary was broadcast on TV Oost last year and is now viewed nearly 60,000 times on YouTube. The story did not go unnoticed in America either.

Bernends knew he had a special story to tell. But he had never previously imagined it to be so attractive that it dazzled people from all over the world. The Dutch version of the film ended up in Palo Alto (California) via a relative of someone who was rescued by Overdine. In Palo Alto, Enschede’s partner city, the documentary is scheduled to be shown during the annual Holocaust remembrance on April 8th. After that, all Jewish communities in the United States and Canada can watch the movie.

“The subtitles don’t work in America, so we had to title the whole movie,” Herbert Zwartz says behind a microphone in an Amsterdam studio. Record the closing poem there today. “In the English language, I don’t have a lot of problems with that, because I’ve lived in America for a year and a half,” Zwartz said.

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American voice actors were brought in to dubbing the documentary. “I was skeptical about that at first,” says documentary filmmaker Willie Berndes. “I had such a clear idea about it. But those doubts disappeared when I see what it all looked like. Everyone has their own American voice, and it’s also very similar to the original voices.”

What if the movie would also attract attention in America? “We’ll see,” says Berends, smiling. “In the English language it is a story that hangs a little above the war in Person of Overduin. It is also a story full of hope and not just misery.”

The documentary “The Conscience of a City”


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