Dear Sirs

A personal journey through World War Two 75 years later.
Year Released
Film Length(s)
56 mins
Closed captioning available
Remote video URL


After finding an archive of photos, letters, and documents detailing his grandfather’s untold journey as a Prisoner of War in World War II, filmmaker Mark Pedri bikes across Europe to tell his grandfather’s story and better understand the man who raised him.

Featured review

The film is an excellent balance of exposition of historical events, such as General Patton's strategies and Allied campaigns; Pedri's grandfather's personal writings; and Pedri's reflections and discoveries as he treks across Europe...From a purely informative standpoint, this work touches on often neglected aspects of World War II, such as the Nazi extermination of the mentally ill in concentration camps, the existence of "sorting camps," and the dire conditions of Allied prisoners of war in World War II.
Michael J. Coffta
Business Librarian, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania


Filmmaker Mark Pedri had never heard his grandfather Silvio’s story despite spending nearly every day together for 10 years. It wasn’t until after Silvio’s death that Mark found an archive of old photos, letters, and documents detailing Silvio’s journey as a Prisoner of War (POW) in World War II. The discovery inspired Mark to bike over 500 miles across Europe, following the original Prisoner of War transportation routes, in an effort to tell his grandfather’s story and better understand the man who helped raise him. Dear Sirs tells a personal history of WWII through a contemporary lens that helps bridge the gaps between generations. While the film captures this important moment in history, it also shows the importance of oral history, intergenerational connections, and the lingering impacts of war.

Dear Sirs has proven to be a catalyst to bring veterans together with their families, friends, and communities to connect and feel seen. It has been used as a tool to not only educate audiences about the prisoner of war's experience, but it's also a jumping off point to discuss war in the modern context. The film has been invited to screen at film festivals, museums, conferences, universities, high schools, cultural centers, and US military bases across the country and around the world. As a testament to the power of the story told in Dear Sirs, the US Embassy in Berlin and Paris have both sponsored screening tours of the film, and it was featured as the opening film for the 2022 GI Film Festival in San Diego and was awarded the prize for Best Documentary Feature. Dear Sirs will have its national PBS premiere in November 2023.


Pedri gives voice to a part of World War II captivity history that many veterans’ descendants like him are now trying to bring to light ... thus showing how complex the World War II legacy and its memorialization remain now that veterans have disappeared, leaving behind incredible stories to be told.
Dr. Elena Bellina, Department of Italian Studies, New York University
Italian American Review
“Dear Sirs” really gets into new spaces about the ravage of war and its memory, and about the families affected and how they try to make sense of their past and their present.
Ritesh Mehta
Festival Programmer
Dear Sirs is a film that must be shared with all generations. The story of Silvio J. Pedri makes us understand the magnitude of his and his generation's effort during World War II. Filmmakers Mark and Carrie lovingly and accurately portrayed the history of Silvio, a POW, while at the same time, fully engaging the audience. Well done, is far too little to say about this remarkable film.
Val Burgess
WWII POW Historian, Archivist, Educator and Speaker
It is a perfect film to view as we prepare for National Veterans and Military Families Month.
Cassie Barlow
President of Strategic Ohio Council for Higher Education
After seeing the documentary, Silvio’s story made a major impact on me, made some of my Vietnam experiences easier to accept now and has helped to heal me mentally from the Vietnam war. Thank you Silvio Pedri for your service and all you have done and thanks Mark for sharing his story so others might benefit from the trials and tribulations that your Grandfather had.
Sgt Richard Reiter
218th MP Co Nha Trang Vietnam, April 68-April 69
The film can highly be recommended as an important resource of cultural and historical mediation.
German-American Center Stuttgart, Germany

Awards and Screenings

Best Documentary Feature - GI Film Festival
U.S. Embassies in Europe Screening Series
Napa Valley Film Festival
Annapolis Film Festival
Kansas City Film Fest International
Santa Fe International Film Festival
NICE International Film Festival
Brave Maker Film Festival
65-City Impact Screening Tour

Director Commentary

"My grandpa always said that if something was worth doing, then it was worth doing right. That's why I decided to ride my bike across Germany in the middle of the winter to retrace his route as a WWII Prisoner of War, 75 years after he was there. Driving from town to town in the spring to smell the flowers at each stop didn't feel like the right way, but biking long, lonely stretches of frozen rural Germany did. I needed to cycle the route of my grandfather to tell his story of being a POW in WWII, and this film takes viewers on that same journey. This is an extremely personal story about how my grandfather and I connected through his experience as a Prisoner of War in WWII even though we were never able to talk about it when he was alive. Thankfully, he left behind an archive of information including handwritten notes, photos, letters, and maps that I was able to piece together in order to tell his story. It's a story that represents so many other Veterans who also never spoke about the trauma they experienced during war. Even though my grandfather's story took place in 1944, the film bridges the gap between generations and asks us to think about how we're talking about war today. How are we treating those who are currently experiencing war? What will the lingering effects on Veterans and civilians because of the wars we enter today? How do we weigh those factors when talking about war? Returning to my goal for this film, I needed to show that it's possible to connect with someone by going to the places that shaped them, and showing how this shapes us too, even after they're gone. Ultimately, the film asks the audience, if there was one last thing you could say to the most impactful person in your life, what would it be?" -- Mark Pedri, Director of Dear Sirs

Features and Languages

Film Features

  • Closed Captioning
  • Subtitles

Film/Audio Languages

  • English

Subtitle/Caption Languages

  • English

Promotional Material

Promotional Stills

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