“Dunkirk” premieres in Dunkirk

Mayor speaks, veterans honored at theater

OBSERVER Photo by Damian Sebouhian: Color Guard members gather to wait for the premiere.

Roughly 20 veterans, including fully uniformed members of the Color Guard, were peppered among the audience of approximately 100 people Friday afternoon, all gathered to attend the premiere of the movie “Dunkirk” at Movie Plex 59 on Bennett Road.

Dunkirk Mayor Willie Rosas introduced the showing and City Historian Diane Andrasik gave a brief and informative PowerPoint presentation on the connections between Dunkirk, France and Dunkirk, New York, specifically the 1946 grassroots Dunkirk to Dunkirk post-war reparations movement that saw the people of Dunkirk, New York raise goods and funds for their sister city equaling an estimated $100,000 (equal to $1,326,000 today).

Two people attending the premier were alive during the 1940 evacuation of Dunkirk, France, and also played a role in the Dunkirk to Dunkirk Day event six years later.

Albertine Jakubowicz was a young lady living in war-ravaged Dunkirk, France when she met a soldier from Dunkirk, New York. They moved to western New York a year later in 1946.

“I still have a lot of memories from that time,” said Jakubowicz. “I remember being afraid of the Germans.”

OBSERVER Photo by Damian Sebouhian: The marquee at Movie Plex 59 shows the premiere of “Dunkirk” on Friday.

Jakubowicz is still in contact with family back in Dunkirk, France.

“Every Saturday I get a telephone call from France,” said Jakubowicz. “I talk to my niece, nephew and two cousins.”

Navy veteran Richard Makuch was 10 years old during the Dunkirk to Dunkirk Day.

“They had the convoy of trucks loaded with all kinds of gear for Dunkirk, France; there was a parade on Central Avenue with the trucks,” recalled Makuch. “Those of us who were kids went and collected different, various things for the transports. We were pretty active as kids then for Dunkirk, France.”

Mayor Rosas thanked everyone for coming out for the movie.

OBSERVER Photo by Damian Sebouhian: A photo displayed on a Movie Plex 59 screen from City Historian Diane Andrasik’s presentation about Dunkirk to Dunkirk Day.

“Warner Brothers sent an email to my office wondering if we were interested in helping them to promote this movie,” Rosas said. “I thought it was a perfect idea, so I assigned it to our development team. I’d like to acknowledge the presence of our development director here with us, Rebecca Yanus; Deputy Director E.J. Hayes; and Coordinator Hector Rosas. We reached out to Dunkirk, France to try and connect with their mayor; we were unable to do that, however. We will continue to try and reach out to them. I’m just happy to see the number of people here supporting this movie.”

For “Dunkirk” showtime information go to http://www.dunkirkmovieplex.com/.

OBSERVER Photo by John D’Agostino: An artifact ticket owned by Albertine Jakubovizz who was a teenager when she moved from Dunkirk, France to Dunkirk, New York in 1946.