Archival Warsaw Ghetto film at the JHI permanent exhibition

Written by: Jewish Historical Institute
Our permanent exhibition "What we’ve been unable to shout out to the world" now features a new multimedia stand with an archival Warsaw Ghetto film by by Alfons Ziółkowski!
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Archival footage shows scenes from the Warsaw Ghetto in 1941. The authors of all the previously known ghetto footage were soldiers of Nazi Germany. This movie is the first exception discovered.

The author of the recording was Alfons Ziółkowski – a 30-year-old Polish merchant and national champion in motorcycle racing, an avid amateur filmmaker already before the war. Ziółkowski, and then his family, kept the tape since 1941. From March to November 1941, using his pass to the ghetto, Ziółkowski documented life in the "closed district", risking arrest and even death.

The choice of the place for the exhibition – the outer side of the wooden palisade – was due to the content of the film. It begins with a scene of smuggling food into the ghetto over the wall from the so-called "Aryan" side, near the Hale Mirowskie bazaar. Since, according to some interpretations, the wooden palisade in the exhibition symbolizes the ghetto wall, its outer side metaphorically refers the viewer to the outer side of the wall.

The film is available courtesy of Eric Bednarski.

Jewish Historical Institute