Marked by Grace:

Stories of Compassion Between Enemies on the WWII Battlefield


" The world needs to know that there can be compassion in war. Humanity needs this film."



Compassionate Heroism in World War ll

Marked by Grace: Stories of Compassion Between Enemies on the WWII Battlefield is a unique, compelling documentary about three little-known, heroic acts of compassion during the six bloody years of our second world war. 

This film features commentary by two military experts, with voice over by double-Emmy winning narrator and accomplished actor, Peter Coyote.

During the horrendous cruelties of WWII, Americans and Germans share compelling, true stories of heroic compassion between enemies, reminding us that humanity perseveres in the most unlikely places.

Staggering numbers of World War II veterans survived unimaginable experiences. Battlefield screams and cries were interrupted by interludes of deafening silence.

Despite our perceptions of war, compassion rises up even in the darkest of circumstances. These diverse acts captured in this WWII documentary demonstrate our common humanity and have the power to bond and unite men and women. 

Acclaimed Contributors to Our Project

Peter Coyote, an accomplished actor and Emmy award-winning narrator of Ken Burns’ documentaries, narrates this documentary that features WWII Veterans and three experts.

Lieutenant Colonel David Grossman, author of On Killing and On Combat, provides expert commentary on the psychological impact on wartime killing. 

A three-star Pentagon General, who wrote “Compassion is more powerful than bullets,” will share expert insight into the juxtaposition of compassion and combat.

Discover More about this Unique Documentary

First inspired in the 1990’s by hearing two stories of compassion between WWII enemies, Producer/Director Stephanie Manesis began her passionate pursuit of developing a powerful short film that shines light on this hidden aspect of war. These compassionate acts speak to the human spirit that exists in all mankind, even when thrust into the most horrific of circumstances.

This 26-minute, 40-second documentary exposes little-known, extraordinary moments of heartwarming humanity in the midst of war’s cruelty and carnage.

World War II veterans and experts weigh in on these little-known stories of compassion that carry the viewer on unexpected emotional journeys. Veterans recount unique, often heroic, and compassionate acts that irrevocably changed their lives.

Growing up in a world where “thou shalt not kill” is taught, but where “kill or be killed” is ingrained during military training, this moving film exposes raw, human compassion and offers an intimate look at another side of battlefield engagement.

Targeted Film Distribution

Three Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) stations are interested in airing this documentary and we are anticipating distribution through national PBS. We will also be negotiating with the History Channel and the Discovery Channel to air this film.  Additionally, we will submit this documentary to film festivals and high schools and colleges/universities in the U.S., Canada and Europe. 

We are also proud to announce this documentary will be shown at a permanent kiosk at the Veterans Memorial Park in Grand Forks, North Dakota.  We are committed to finding other veterans parks, museums and veteran history projects where this documentary short can also be viewed.

How This Documentary Can Make an Impact

Compassion on the battlefield must be documented and discussed so we can better understand war, peace and reconciliation. Veterans viewing this film can reflect on their own combat experiences and explore and share their feelings toward their former enemies. 

This film will enlighten viewers that we, as a society, are all more similar than different, and that compassion has the power to bond and unite even in the darkest of circumstances.

While WWII is remembered for its harsh reality of devastating proportions, these hidden compassionate acts deserve recognition and tribute. With this film, we honor and remember the lives of those who served and the redemptive powers of the human spirit.

Why Now?

There are fewer than 122,000 WWII veterans still living today in the U.S. and they are dying at a rate of at least 600 per day. We must complete this film in 2024 while those who fought in WWII are still alive. 

These stories of compassion between enemies on the battlefield need to be told and remembered so future generations can learn and grow from these experiences.

How You Can Be Part of This Groundbreaking Film

We’re excited to say most filming is completed and a rough cut has been developed. One additional day of filming at the end of 2023 in Washington, D.C. will include a three-star Pentagon General and an expert on compassion. 

Funding for the next phase of this film is needed in the amount of $33,500. This includes rough cut expenses, research for b-roll footage, digital mastering of b-roll and one day of filming in Washington, D.C.

Your Contributions are Tax-Deductible!

Like many independent filmmakers, we have a fiscal sponsor that provides us 501 (c) (3) non-profit status and financial oversight of all monies donated toward this film. Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County (HCSCC) in Moorhead, Minnesota (Moorhead, Minnesota is a twin city of Fargo, North Dakota) is our fiscal sponsor. This means your donations are tax-deductible!

We are currently fundraising for Phase 3 of this project for the Spring of 2024 which includes editing of our project and two days of filming of a (third story of compassion between enemies and the 3-Star Pentagon General that wrote, “Compassion is more powerful than bullets.”). It also includes updating our 3 minute video that you see above for this home page and our fundraising efforts. Our budget for Phase 3 is $32,750.
Please consider donating today (here) to help this groundbreaking film come to life this year in 2024!. Whether you donate $10 or $10,000, you donation can make a difference on how the world views matters of peace, war and reconciliation!  Thank you!

Please consider donating today!

Thank you!

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