A Letter to Mother
A Brivele der Mamen

aka The Eternal Song
Poland, 1939, 106 minutes B&W, Yiddish with English subtitles
Directed by Joseph Green and Leon Trystand

with new English subtitles by
The National Center for Jewish Film

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Public Exhibition Formats: 35mm, 16mm, Beta

"A Letter to Mother was director Joe Green's last film and his favorite from among his own films."
-J. Hoberman, Bridge of Light: Yiddish Film Between Two Worlds


This tale of family disintegration and poverty serves as a metaphor for the displacements facing European Jews in 1939. One of the last Yiddish films made in Poland before the Nazi invasion, the film tells the story of a mother's persistent efforts to support her family. While her husband lives in America, Dobrish struggles to care for her three children in pre-WWI Polish Ukraine. After her family is pulled apart by severe poverty and the turmoil of war, Dobrish and her family make their way to New York and turn to the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) in search of a brighter future.

Released on September 14, 1939, two weeks after the German blitzkrieg over Poland, this film opened to packed audiences at the Belmont Theater in New York. Hailed by the New York Times as one of the best Yiddish films to reach America, A Letter to Mother was the highest grossing Yiddish film of its time.

Selected Screenings

UPCOMING: Washington Jewish Film Festival (2017)

Goethe Institut - Porto Alegre, Brazil
Center for Jewish History, NYC
Neues Kino Theater, Basel Switzerland
Chicago YIVO Summer Festival of Yiddish Culture
Paramount Theater at Emerson College, Boston
Stockholm Jewish Film Festival
Jerusalem Film Festival
Toronto Jewish Film Festival

NCJF Film Restoration

Preservation and restoration was made possible by Rita and Stanley H. Kaplan in memory of Gladys and Saul Gwirtzman with additional funding by Brandeis University, The American Film Institute, The Massachusetts Cultural Council, The National Endowment for the Art and The National Endowment for the Humanities

Restoration © The National Center for Jewish Film
Executive Director Sharon Pucker Rivo
Associate Director Miriam Saul Krant
Research Consultant Sylvia Fuks Fried
Technical Director Richard Pontius
Additional Titles Moshe Waldoks
Title Production Loren S. Miller
Title Animation Frame Shop
Laboratory John E. Allen, Inc.


Director/ Producer Joseph Green
Screenplay Mendel Osherwitz, Joseph Green, Leon Tristan, Anatol Stern
Art Director Rotmil Goldman, Morris Goldman
Film Editor J.M. Neuman
Photography Seweryn Steinwurzel

Lucy German
Alexander Stein
Isaac Grudberg
Irving Bruner
Gertrude Bulman
Chane Levin
Max Bozyk
Edmund Zayenda
Mischa Gehrman
Simche Fostel
Samuel Landau
Gustav Berger
Adam Domb
Misha German

Home Use DVD: $29.95

Does not include Classroom or Library Use Rights or Public Performance Rights. More Information


Classroom/Library Use DVD: $250

Does not include Public Performance Rights. More Information

Digital Site Licensing (DSL) available - Contact us

Step down pricing for K-12 & public libraries may be available - Contact us

Arrange a screening - Contact us

Also Directed by Joseph Green

The Jester


Yiddle with His Fiddle

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