(SOUTH RIVER, NJ) -- After finding a box of 75 year old letters in his attic, filmmaker Jack Ballo decided to do a search for the author of those letters, Sgt. Joseph Pisinski. He then discovered a WWII scandal that even the most dedicated historians never knew. Ballo wants to tell the story in the documentary Rohna: Classified - It's time to tell the truth - a feature documentary about the WWII cover-up of the greatest loss of life at sea by enemy action in the history of US war. He's got a Kickstarter campaign which is a few thousand from its goal and will end on Sunday, June 23rd. Please contribute if you can so this important story is revealed.
The War Department kept Hitler’s high-tech guided missile attack of the Rohnaclassified even after the war was over. Even though the historic event was comprised of the first guided missiles ever used against the US, along with it being the greatest loss of troops at sea by enemy action in US history - it was never mentioned in WWII history books. All survivors were ordered to remain silent under the threat of court martial. By the time the war was over, the 966 survivors went home with their stories buried deep inside as they tried to forget their secret tale of that fateful night. Most of them never talked about the Rohna attack again.
Read more about the story at the STORY page on the film's website.
Searching for families of forgotten heroes - Ballo and his crew have spent the last year working on a documentary, Rohna: Classified, that will expose theRohna story. The film’s Outreach Program includes a team of researchers who are searching for the families of the soldiers killed in the attack. “The next-of-kin of the Rohna heroes need to know the truth.” Ballo said. The movie website lists the hometowns of all the casualties organized by state and county along with a database form that the next-of-kin can use to submit information. “We’re using today’s technology to finish the job that a group of Rohnasurvivors vowed to do - that is to reach the families of every Rohna casualty and tell them what happened.” researcher Tracey Bannon explained. The families were never told what happened to their boys and most of the bodies of the soldiers were never recovered. In most cases, there were no funeral services or burials for the forgotten soldiers. Nor were there any War Department phone calls, letters, or visits made providing information that would bring closure to the families. Six months after the attack, the Gold Star families received one short paragraph confirming the demise of their loved one in a telegram that also stated that there was no information available. That was it; the boys just never came home.
UPCOMING DOCUMENTARY - Jack Ballo has teamed up with two-time academy award nominee producer Bill Jersey and Rohna author and historian Michael Walsh to produce a documentary about the Rohna attack. This Ultravision Films production is expected to be completed in late 2020.
In the past, New Jersey Stage spoke with Ballo about his films The Doo Doo Man and Destiny's Bridge for our monthly magazine and look forward to featuring Rohna: Classified in the future. Please go to his Kickstarter page and contribute to help this film get made.