On November 10, 2012, surrounded by my two sisters and dear aunt Chiqui, I opened the 1946 letter that inspired our documentary film, Letter From Cloudcroft. The letter was written by my father, Private Sandy Hess from the Lodge Resort in Cloudcroft NM during a weekend respite from the Army. Sandy Hess was the first American GI engineer assigned to work with the German Nazi Rocket Scientists in Project Paperclip. We produced a public symposium funded by the New Mexico Humanities Council and the NEH, that brought Space History and Jewish scholars together to discuss the legacy of the V2 rockets, from their origins in the Holocaust to being the foundation of the American Space Program.

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A Letter From Cloudcroft: Lost And Found Memories of My Father

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A young NYC Jewish engineer's 1946 trek to the American Southwest finds unexpected collaborators and a top secret project. All is revealed over sixty-six years later through the discovery of his letters by his filmmaker daughter.

Uncovering a trove


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A young NYC Jewish engineer's 1946 trek to the American Southwest finds unexpected collaborators and a top secret project. All is revealed over sixty-six years later through the discovery of his letters by his filmmaker daughter.

Uncovering a trove of letters hidden in an old suitcase, one sealed letter written from the Lodge in Cloudcroft in 1946 inspires filmmaker Melinda Hess’s journey exploring the intersection of her father’s life with the historic development of American space exploration. Using letters written by Private Sandy Hess, a young Jewish U.S. Army engineer assigned to “Project Paperclip,” the film illuminates the legacy of the infamous rockets that originated in the slave camps of the Holocaust and became the foundation of the U.S. space program.

Tracking incidents and leads from the letters, the film uncovers an intricate historic, political and personal story interweaving the complexities of history, collective memory and personal narratives. Challenged by the writings of her father, the filmmaker confronts familial beliefs and values while questioning moral and ethical choices made by individuals and governments. Ultimately her journey offers a glimpse into the challenges and rewards of personal and societal reconciliation and transformation.

Find out more about the film here here:

letterfromcloudcroft.com

facebook.com/LetterFromCloudcroft.Film

twitter.com/LFCloudcroft @LFCloudcroft

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