Press Releases

Facing the End of His Life, Renowned Impressionist Painter Reveals Holocaust Ordeal and Inspirational Life Lessons in New Film 'Impressions of Life'


BOSTON, Oct. 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --  When Harry Somers was just 16, he made a daring escape from Nazi Germany and began a new life, passing through England to attend Dookie Agricultural College in Australia. At 20, he joined the Australian Army, where a fellow soldier introduced him to the art of painting. Later, in New York City, his creative powers blossomed, and he began presenting his work in exhibitions and selling paintings to celebrities and socialites. Nevertheless, the memories of his harrowing ordeal were always close to the surface.

Painting became an escape for Somers, a way to cope with the loss of his family and the trauma of surviving Nazi Germany. His paintings have been described as "luminous," "glowing" and "alive." Combining elements of Impressionism and pointillism, Somers' paintings typically represent landscapes and other natural settings inhabited by people enjoying each other's company amid the surroundings. Moreover, his work is a profound contrast to the darkness and despair that so characterized the Holocaust.

As filmmakers Erik Angra and Sandri Valente discovered, Somers' paintings are honest reflections of his life and personality. Meeting Somers in Arizona while they were promoting another film on the Holocaust, they were immediately struck by his charm, optimism and profound wisdom. The filmmakers quickly realized that Somers' work and life story was worth sharing with a wider audience. They remained in Arizona for three extra weeks, speaking with the artist nearly every day.

His belief in forgiveness and love, in spite of the horrors of his youth, were inspirational. Somers had never opened up to anyone in detail about his ordeal in Germany before meeting Angra and Valente. Now nearing the end of his life, Somers was willing to share his message of forgiveness. Thus began the project that will culminate in the documentary "Impressions of Life: The H. Somers Story."

Angra and Valente have launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the documentary. Their wish is that the final production successfully captures the sublime beauty that is both Harry Somers the man and H. Somers the artist. They believe his powerful example of forgiveness and perseverance will provide light in a world that is too often dimmed by fear and mistrust.

Always a believer in giving back, Somers has recently donated almost 50 works of art to Hospice of the Valley in Phoenix, Arizona. His artwork is used in art therapy classes throughout the region. Although Somers may never see his documentary, he can rest knowing that his life has already impacted the lives of others in an immensely positive way.

To watch the trailer and become a backer on Kickstarter visit

For more information about Harry Somers and to see some of his work visit


Sandri Valente, Producer

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SOURCE Erik Angra and Sandri Valente