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When a Filmmaker Learns Her That Dad Worked with Ex-Nazi Scientists

  • Jewish Community Library 1835 Ellis Street San Francisco, CA 94115 (map)

Free event with free garage parking off Pierce Street between Ellis and Eddy streets.

Melinda Hess.jpg

Filmmaker Melinda Hess is the driving force behind Letter from Cloudcroft, a feature-length documentary film-in-progress about the space race and a previously untold back story. Hess’ involvement began with the discovery of letters that her father, Sandy Hess, had written as a U.S. Army private to his parents in 1946. Private Hess was describing his work for the U.S. government in Texas with Werner Von Braun and other German rocket scientists who had servied the Nazi regime. The letters both fascinated and troubled Melinda; her father had never discussed his post-war activities. 

The film presents two familial points of view separated by seventy years as Melinda tries to understand her father’s particiation in an effort that had its roots in German rocket factories that had exploited slave laborers, including many Jews. In her presentation, Hess will elaborate on the story and the familial and ethical issues it raises.

Melinda Hess is an artist, film editor, and director and producer of documentary films. She is the 2016-17 filmmaker in residence at the Jewish Film Institute, San Francisco.