The Darien Dilemma

A film by Erez Laufer

The Darien Dilemma

A father and his filmmaker son explore an untold story of 1,000 Jews stranded in the winter of 1941 on the frozen Danube, waiting a life-or-death decision to be taken by their would-be rescuer, senior Mossad agent Ruth, and her agents in a hotel room in Istanbul. Intriguing storytelling interweaving interviews with the survivors, actors and a father who must tell this story!

The film unfolds a story never told before, of the thousand Viennese Jews on the banks of the Danube, in the winter of 1941, waiting to be sentenced to life or death by their would-be rescuer, senior Mossad agent Ruth, and fellow agents in a hotel room in Istanbul. Originally, Nachum Laufer, intended to tell the story of how he fled from Europe with his mother. However, during research work, he came across the story of another woman, Ruth Kliger "The Lady of he Mossad". His research takes us on a painful and complex journey through history of the Jewish Settlement in Palestine-before WWII. It is also a story within a story; weaving the father's account of Ruth with the moral dilemma she faced dramatically reconstructed by actors, in an attempt to understand one heroine, against the backdrop of a painful historical episode.


Nili Keren - Researcher of Holocaust Education and Academic-Pedagogic advisor at "Meshoa" Institute Kibbutz Tel -Itzhak:

" The film enlightens a less known corner of the terrible era, the tragic non-heroic story of the illegal immigration, though the characters are real heroes. From the educational point of view "The Darien Dilemma" can be a lever, an eye opener for deliberation on what can be seen as a side-issue in the big puzzle, but it is definitely relevant to national and social questions [...] From my experience in "teaching' the Holocaust era and my work in 'Meshoa' as academic- pedagogic consultant I believe in educational value of 'The Darien Dilemma'. The film opens for discussion questions that till now we didn't deal with, though they are important both as unique and universal questions."

Dan Shador - Globes Newspaper:

"A fascinating Documentary film "The Darien Dilemma", Ruth the Mossad Agent attempts to save a 1000 Jews from Europe during World War II, reveals a shivering conflict between the private and national interests, and brings us to reflect again if the Yishuv (The Jewish authorities of Palestine-Israel at that time) did enough […] the film reminds him of Shindler’s List, Spielberg’s Holocaust epic, with one big difference: In Shindler’s List a 1000 Jews that were saved from certain death by one man, in the Darien saga a 1000 Jews that should have been saved were murdered."


Tel-Aviv - Official selection Doc Aviv, 2006; Miami - Jewish Film Festival, 2006; Los Angles - Israel Film Festival, 2007; Toronto - Jewish Festival, 2007; New-York - Israel Film Festival, 2007; Chicago - Jewish Festival, 2008; Warsaw - Jewish Film Festival, 2006; Seattle - Jewish Film Festival, 2007; Newport & Fairfax - Jewish Festival, 2007; Toronto - Toronto Jewish festival, 2007; Vienna-Jewish Film Festival, 2007; Buenos Aires - Festival Internacional De Cine Judio en la Argentina, 2006; Santiago - Jewish Film Festival, 2007; Montevideo - Jewish Film Festival, 2007; Melbourne & Sydney - Israel Cinema Festival, 2007.


Stowe JCC (Vt); Temple Beth-El Fort Worth (Tx); Beth Shalom (Sarasota, FL); Shir Tikva (Minneapolis, MI); Woodbridge Jewish Library (CT); Bat Yahm (Newport, CA); Beth -El (St Petersburg, FL); Temple Emanuel (Tampa, AZ); Beth Tfiloht (Baltimore, MD); Humanistic Congregation (Fairfield, CT); Rodfei Zedek (Chicago, IL); Kehilat Yeshuron (New-York City, NY); East Midwood Jewish Center (NY); Sons of Israel (Brancliff Manor, NY); Temple Isiah (Stony Brook, NY); Utopia JCC (Queens, NY); Halifax JCC (Nova-Scotia); Bergen County YJCC (NJ); Tenafly JCC (NJ); Sharee Zion ( Montreal); KOH (Sacremento Ca); Agudat Achim (Schenectady NY); Beth David (Gladwyne PA); Beth Shalom (Arnold Md); Young Israel (Staten Island); Progressive Rabbi's Convention Vienna-Austria; Rex Culture Hall Belgrade-Serbia; Holocaust Education Week Halifax -Canada.


Recently added: Dusseldorf University (Germany) Plattsburg Suny Library; Florida University Gainseburg; Jewish Video Library Seattle; Pacific Lutheren University library; Cockfosters Synagogue (London UK); Auckland University (New Zealand); Michigan University (Ann Arbor); Colgate University Libraries; Rochester University Library; Brooklyn College Library; The Jewish Theological Seminary Library; Yeshiva University- Stern College for Women; Brandeis University Goldfarb Library Judaica Collections; Harvard University Judaica Library; American Jewish University Los Angles; University Of Southern California Library; University of Connecticut Thomas J. Dodd Research Center; Humboldt California State University Library; Stanford University Library; Seton Hill , National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education; Princeton University Library; Monmouth University Library; Pennsylvania University Van Pelt Library; Lehigh University Library; Pennsylvania State University, Palermo Library; University of Miami Richter Library; Indiana University, Herman B Wells Library; University Of Central Florida library; University of Maryland, Baltimore County Library; Western Kentucky University Libraries & Museum; Vanderbilt University Library; Duke University Library; Appalachian State University Library; University of Delaware Library; University of Wyoming Libraries; Arizona State University Library; University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, Towsend Library; University of Manchester, John Rylands University Library; Living History Institute, Stockholm University Sweden; University Vienna Institut für Judaistik Austria; Rice University Fondren Library; Spertus College Library; University of Louisville William F. Ekstrom Library; Yale University Library; James Madison University, Carrier Library; George Mason University Library; Mcgill University Library Montreal Canada; University of Calgary Library Alberta Canada; Grande Prairie Regional College Library Alberta Canada; Concordia University Library Edmonton Canada; The Hebrew University Library Jerusalem; Haifa University Library; Bar-Ilan University Library; Emek Yizrael College Library; Beit Berl College Library


Berlin Jewish Museum (Germany), Wansee Convention Museum (Berlin Germany), Diaspora House (Tel-Aviv), Yad Vashem (Jerusalem), Shoah Museum (Paris), Jewish Museum (Paris).


Tampa Bay Education & Art TV (Fl)

Using a clever mix of dramatic re-enactments and interviews, director Erez Laufer has created a potent hybrid Holocaust documentary film that is visually arresting and intellectually challenging.”
— The Toronto Jewish Film Festival

About the Film

Director: Erez Laufer
Screenplay: Nachum Laufer
Director of photography: Yaron Sharf, Erez Laufer
Editor: Miri Laufer
Music composer: Yehuda Poliker
Drama producer: Orly Feldhaim

Doco-Drama - History, Holocaust, Europe, Jewish Studies, Gender Studies (90 minutes)
English Hebrew, English subtitles.


The Darien Dilemma





To place an order, please contact Nahum Laufer.

Fax: 972-3-5291726
Mail: Shlomo Hamelech 93 #5, Tel-Aviv 6451228




$300 DVD or MP4 HD quality link for library & PPR (Public Performance Rights) when no admission fee is charged.

Add $100 = $400 for 5 years license for streaming rights from institution's own internal server for all students, faculty & staff.

Add $200 = $500 for perpetual license for streaming rights from institution's own internal server for all students, faculty & staff.

Shipping and handling fee for DVD is $7.

$350 DVD and streaming rights with 3 year license from institution's own internal server.

$100 Streaming rights for institutions with 3 year license from institution's own internal server that already purchased the DVD with Public Screening rights.

$175 Streaming rights for institutions with 3 year license from institution's own internal server that already purchased the DVD with only Library use.

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