In search of living memory: film encounters with witnesses to the Warsaw Ghetto
Watch all six episodes this April, May and June 2023 that will reveal the stories and personal portraits of Warsaw Ghetto Survivors, and people who were influenced by the history of the Ghetto. Hear their accounts of contemporary encounters which have been saved within the context of family history, personal objects, and urban space.
- The premiere of the third episode will be released on the "Oral History / Museum POLIN Collection," YouTube channel.
Friday, May 19, 2023 at 6:00 PM CET. This episode features the story of Hanna Szmalenberg, and is entitled, "We wanted the names of people who passed this way to appear."
- Watch the teaser >>
Hear the personal story of an architect from a Protestant family, Hanna Szmalenberg , who was a collaborator with two of the most influential Polish urban planners of the second half of the 20th century: Oskar Hansen and Marek Budzyński. She was an oppositionist and friend of Marek Edelman, a co-founder of the Social Committee for the Care of Jewish Cemeteries and Monuments in Poland, founder of memorials in the area of the Warsaw Ghetto (co-author of the Memorial Route of Jewish Martyrdom and Struggle), the Monument to Szmul Zygielbojm, the founder of the memorial at the Anielewicz Mound, the Umschlagplatz Monument-Wall, and the monument in the Jewish cemetery at Okopowa Street Okopowa Street. The material for this episode was filmed at Hanna’s apartment, at the Umschlagplatz Monument-Wall, and photographs were provided by Elżbieta Oyrzanowska, which document the conceptual work and the creation of the Umschlagplatz Monument.
Watch the first episode featuring Irena Agata Bołdok, "I felt hidden by myself": the ghetto and identity
Hear the personal story of Irena Agata Bołdok. This episode explores the childhood experiences of the Warsaw Ghetto, and hiding in the so-called "Aryan side," as well as the impact of that experience on the construction of identity and subjectivity in the Irena’s life later on. Here, the experience of the ghetto is an "initiation into Jewishness," the unwanted and shameful identity. In circumstances of extreme experience of antisemitism and exclusion. Her story is an account of discovering one's own identity, shaped by the "collective shadow of others." It was also about finding one's own worth and place in the world, for which the role of "confidants" is crucial. Finally of the loved ones with whom one can be oneself.
Watch the second episode featuring Barbara Góra, "My dad asked me if I wanted to leave the ghetto"
Hear the personal story of Warsaw Ghetto Survivor, Barbara Góra, who was sent to the ghetto as a child. She was born as Irena Hochberg in 1932 in Warsaw. Her mother's family was religious, unlike her father's family. In 1940, the Hochberg family was moved to the ghetto. After some time, Irena was led to the so-called Aryan side, where, with the help of various people, her hiding places would often change. Her parents and sister also managed to escape to the Aryan side and survived. This episode explores a child’s perspective and experience of the Holocaust. Focusing on the protection of parents who shielded their children from the cruelty of the outside world. As well as the selectivity of memory and people, who were the ‘depositories and facilitators’ of the memory to what she witnessed. Barbara Góra passed away during the preparation of the material in February 2023.
The film series "In search of living memory: film encounters with witnesses to the Warsaw Ghetto" is an attempt to capture authentic, living memory: a corporeal and emotional memory associated with individual experience. The memories also have a somatic character, anchored in the body. Memory and remembering are often problematic processes that also consist of gaps, discontinuities, contradictions, imagination and attempts to reconstruct - one's own fate, family or social history.
The filmed personal portraits are a documentary showing the impact of the direct and mediated experience of the Warsaw Ghetto on the identity of the protagonists at different stages of their lives.
- Conceived and realized by Józef Markiewicz / POLIN Museum.
- Premiere of subsequent etudes: every two weeks, starting from 21 April.
Heroes and heroines of the series, dates of premieres:
- Irena Agata Bołdok, 21 April
- Barbara Góra, 5 May
- Hanna Szmalenberg, 19 May
- Ludwik Górski and Joanna Podgórska, 2 June
- Aleksandra Sobiecka, 16 June