The Memory of Kielce, Poland and Beyond, a docufilm of hope, healing, forgiveness and learning curve.
A well-made Polish docufim that was shown in a pick review this week in Beverly Hills, California, pokes deep into the past of the residents of the Polish town Kielce and the Polish nation as a whole.
The story begins with the cruel murder, by the local Polish people, of 40 and the injuring of 80 Holocaust survivors who, in 1946, came back to what they knew to be their hometown. The story ends with the beginning of reconciliation when one man, Bogdan Bialek, who, slowly, persuades the people of Kielce to confront the truth about one of the darkest moments of their past.
Kielce is known to be the site of Europe’s last Jewish Pogrom.
Anti-Semitism is a negative sentiment that people hold for Jews that has no reason and no explanation. Anti-Semitism sentiments and actions erupt when society finds itself in darkness and a confused state.
Libels against Jews have been common from time immemorial. We can start with the Christians’ libel, blaming the Jews to be the murderers of Jesus. In this docufilm’s libel case, the rumor was that the Holocaust surviving Jews, who found first refuge in Kielce, kidnaped a local Polish non-Jew child. This libel, blaming Jews wrongly, ends up with gruesome murders.
This high quality cinematography docufilm can be a key tool for building a new understanding between Jews and Poles, a country its 3 million Jewish population perished in a systematic murder during WWII.
Though society as a whole is fully responsible for allowing a collective crime, like the Kielce Pogrom take place. Only some, those who perpetrated the crimes are to be blamed.
One can say that an entire society must watch and learn from this docuflm; that we, as a civilized society must take Bogdan’s journey to learn what we have not learned to do well, reflect on the past, no matter how repulsive and deplorable it is, admit the ugly truth and find a way to heal what was done and build a solid front so the same never happens again.
Looking at the world today, seeing how the Jewish state, Israel, is being treated and the rise in anti-Semitism in the West again, Bogdan’s Journey affirms that our learning curve is at default.
Go see this teachable moment docufilm and take a heed of people’s behavior gone so wrong.