“My 100 Children” directed by Amalia Margolin and Oshra Schwartz

Fot. z kolekcji rodziny Kuchler

"My 100 children" directed by Amalia Margolin and Oshra Schwartz, tells the extraordinary story of Lena Kuchler, a Jewish woman who saved one hundred children orphaned during the Holocaust. After the war, Kuchler created an orphanage, and then, when it became necessary, smuggled her children across the border, bringing them to Palestine via Paris. The return of “Lena’s children” to Poland after many years is an opportunity to reminisce, reflect, and hear moving, often surprising stories.

The film will be followed by a debate with:
Oshra Schwartz – director of the film,
Yaakov Guterman – painter, one of Lena Kuchler’s “children”,
Jean-Yves Potel – former cultural attaché at the French Embassy in Warsaw, currently a collaborator of the Mémorial de la Shoah in Paris,
Dr. Helena Datner – academic supervisor of the Museum Core Exhibition “Postwar” gallery, specializing in the history of the Jewish community in Poland after World War II and sociological research on anti-Semitism.

Tickets – 5 PLN

Lena Kuchler was born in 1910 in Wieliczka. She studied philosophy at the Jagiellonian University, specializing in psychology and teaching. In 1939, she taught at the Jewish school in Bielsk. Survivor of the ghetto in Wieliczka. She survived the war on the “Aryan” side under a false name, having escaped from a train taking her to the death camp at Bełżec. After returning to Krakow in 1945, she found several dozen Jewish orphans in an overcrowded shelter on Długa St. She proceeded to found orphanages, funded by the Polish state and the American JOINT, in Zakopane and Rabka. Over 100 children, aged between 3 and 15, found shelter and safety there. Teaching was based on methods inspired by the work of Janusz Korczak.

As a result of an anti-Semitic raid on the orphanage in Rabka, two children were killed. The communist authorities demanded that Lena break off contacts with the American JOINT. Under these circumstances, it was impossible to go on. Thanks to the help of a Jewish organization from Switzerland, Lena escaped Poland with one hundred children. Reaching Paris in the spring of 1946, the orphans were placed in the custody of the Zionist Organization for the Protection of Jewish Children (OPEJ). At the beginning of 1949, Lena brought most of the children to Israel, where she lived until her death in 1987.

Already in Paris, Lena began to write down testimony from “her children.” Meine Kinder (Moje dzieci) was the book she wrote about them in Polish (published in Yiddish). This was her first attempt at the book My 100 Children, first published in Israel in 1959. The latter was a huge success, and was quickly translated into 14 languages. The author received several awards and prizes for her subsequent books on the history of the Holocaust.
Lena Kuchler never returned to Poland. In 2000, her daughter, Shira Toren, organized a voyage in the tracks of her life, whose participants included a number of “Lena’s children.”

Film shown as part of the cycle “Life after the Holocaust”.

Screening and debate organized in cooperation with: