Poland: Films at the IAJGS Conference #poland

Pamela Weisberger <pweisberger@...>

The IAJGS conference will be screening many excellent films about Poland.
Four of them are profiled below. Highly recommended is Menachem Daum's
"Hiding and Seeking: Faitth and Tolerance After the Holocaust," which has
been called an "inter-generational saga of survivors."

If you ever wondered why elderly family members refused to discuss their
wartime experiences...and thought the reason was simply because the memories
were too painful...this film will open your eyes to how different versions
of "the truth" can evolve over a lifetime. In this remarkable film the Daum
family journeys to Dzialoszyce, Poland to meet the Christian family who hid
their father--and grandfather--over 60 years ago. As a result of this trip,
the family is able to make peace with--and amends for--the past, and are
richer for the experience.

We are also showing films that deal with two other Polish towns....the
shtetl of Luboml ("Luboml: My Heart Remembers") and Lodz ("Chaim Rumkowski
and the Jews of Lodz") and the poignant "Image Before My Eyes," which evokes
the "full spectrum of Jewish life in Poland" before WWII.


Menachem Daum, although himself an orthodox Jew, is concerned that his two
even more conservative sons - yeshiva students living in Israel - are
becoming isolationist in their attitudes towards the gentile world. To prove
to them that there are good gentiles in the world, he takes them and his
wife on a trip to Poland to have them meet the people who risked their lives
by hiding the boys' maternal grandfather and two uncles >from the Nazis
during World War II. In fact, the boys and their mother owe their very
existence to the extraordinary compassion and heroism of this "goyim"
family. The "hiding" of the title - beyond the obvious reference to the
secretion of Jews during the holocaust - denotes what the practitioners of
all religions do when they see themselves as somehow separate >from and
superior to those around them, and, as a result, build up barriers between
their own kind and the outside world. This attitude creates divisions that,
paradoxically, end up destroying the very people they are designed to
protect. The "seeking" comes in Daum's epic quest to prove to his children
that all people have the potential for goodness if only they choose to act
upon it. Near the end of the movie, the Daums finally get to meet two of the
people who risked their lives to save the family's relatives. The encounter
is profoundly moving and compelling, and even Daum's sons seem transformed
by the experience. Directed by Menachem Daum

Sunday, August 13 5:00 PM - 6:30 PM
Monday, August 14 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Thursday, August 17 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM


This historical video uses rare film footage, an extensive collection of
archival photos, and interviews with former residents to re-create the
fabric of daily life in the predominantly Jewish market town, or shtetl, of
Luboml in prewar Poland. The video reveals Luboml as a vibrant town where
religious tradition and community life coexisted. No quaint rural village,
Luboml was an important regional market town, complete with theater, a
cinema, electric lights, sports teams, and numerous trades and businesses,
factories and workshops. Nazi genocidal actions in Poland in 1941-42
destroyed the Jewish community in Luboml, including the execution of nearly
all its Jewish citizens, as recounted through moving interviews with
Holocaust survivors and other former residents of Luboml. Produced by
Eileen Douglas and Ron Steinman

Thursday, August 17 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM - with filmmakers Ron Steinman and
Eileen Douglas


Before World War II Poland was the largest and most important center of
Jewish creativity, scholarship, and culture in the world. Jews had lived in
Poland since the twelfth century, and in 1939 Poland's 3.5 million Jews
comprised about one-tenth of the population. Image Before My Eyes depicts
the full spectrum of Jewish life in Poland – >from remote villages and small
towns to major cities, >from the traditionally pious to the ardently secular.
It shows the great range of Jewish involvement in political and cultural
movements such as bundism, Zionism, and anarchism, and in the creation and
sustenance of educational and social institutions. Directed by Josh

Monday, August 14 8:00 AM - 9:30 AM


The Nazi extermination of Polish Jewry is well documented, but less well
known is how Jews themselves perceived and reacted to their situation. This
documentary examines the complex moral and ethical dilemmas confronting the
Jewish community during World War II. It focuses on Chaim Rumkowski,
appointed by the Nazis as Chairman of the Lodz Jewish Council. His plan to
save the Jews by making them indispensable to the industry of the German war
effort was tragic and doomed to failure. Due to Rumkowski's accomplishments
in establishing a Department of Statistics with at least three
photographers, we witness in detail the illusory triumphs and eventual
destruction of Jewish Lodz. Directed by Peter Cohen

Tuesday, August 15 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM

All films will be screened in the Ziegfeld Room on the 4th Floor and order
forms for these films will be provided for anyone who is interested.

Menachem Daum, Eileen Douglas and Ron Steinman will also be participating in
the "Visual Storytelling" panel on Wednesday, August 16th at 7:30PM.

Pamela Weisberger
IAJGS Conference Film Program Co-Chair

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