The Holocaust saw the deaths of six million Jewish individuals. The majority of them lost their lives at German-run concentration and extermination camps. Few were able to escape, with four documented as having gotten away from the horrors of Chełmno, in Poland. Two of them were Solomon Weiner and Michał Podchlebnik, whose bravery will be depicted in the upcoming World War II-era film, The World Will Tremble.
Written and directed by Academy Award-nominee Lior Geller, The World Will Tremble will tell the true story of two prisoners who escaped Chełmno during the Second World War. In particular, it will focus on Michał Podchlebnik and Solomon Weiner, who, on January 19, 1942, became the first individuals to provide eyewitness accounts of the murders being perpetrated by the German regime.
Geller spent over a decade researching the film. With the help of historians, Yad Vashem and the men’s families, he was able to collect enough information to put together a cohesive retelling of their efforts amid the trials and death of war.
As its longline states, “The film will focus on a moment of bravery, resilience, and hope, proving that one’s will to live and tell others, can overcome insurmountable odds and the most indescribable of human conditions.”
Located 31 miles from the Polish city of Łódź, Chełmno was one of six extermination camps operated by Germany during WWII. Unlike concentration camps, these were established with only one purpose in mind: mass murder.
Chełmno operated from December 1941 to April 1943 as part of Operation Reinhard, the German plan to exterminate Poland’s Jewish population, and from June 1944 to January 1945 during the Red Army‘s counteroffensive. While exact totals are unclear, it’s believed between 152,000 and 200,000 people – Jews and Soviet prisoners of war (POWs) – were killed at the camp before it was liberated on January 20, 1945.
Of the 320,000 Jewish individuals who were sent to Chełmno, only four were known to survive.
British actors Oliver Jackson-Cohen, best known for his roles in The Invisible Man (2020) and Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House (2018), and Jeremy Neumark Jones have been announced as playing the lead roles. Jones’ grandparents were German Jews who moved to England to escape the growing power of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party.
Lorton Entertainment, UFO Films, Radiancy Pictures and Black Sheep Films will be producing the project, with Ben Silverman, Arthur Landon, Julian Bird and Ed Barratt serving as executive producers.
“Soon, there will be no more living survivors who would be able to provide first-hand accounts of the atrocities carried out in the [German] camps,” Geller told Variety. “In an age of rising antisemitism and Holocaust denial, it is our duty as storytellers to keep alive the memory of the six million lost and of those who actively resisted.
“I was blown away by Solomon and Michael’s incredible act of bravery and I am honoured to create the first narrative adaptation of this untold true story together with Lorton and UFO Films.”
Landon, of Lorton Entertainment, added, “Our aim at Lorton has always been to produce powerful, socially relevant content and there’s nothing more powerful or socially relevant at this time than Michael and Solomon’s story. As a company made up of keen historians, we have been waiting, hoping for a unique script like this to kickstart our venture into scripted, period narrative.”
As of publishing, no release date has been revealed for The World Will Tremble.