The ramparts of Warsaw 1943-44
1st August 1944. Nearly two months after the Allies land in Normandy, the young people of Poland rise up in Warsaw to free themselves from the Nazi yoke. Betrayed by Stalin who is encamped arms at the ready on the far bank of the Vistula the Polish Resistance one of the strongest in Europe with its Home Army the Armia Krajowa faces the world’s most powerful army alone.
The Warsaw Uprising is often confused with the revolt in the Warsaw Ghetto which took place a year earlier in the Spring of 1943 and in which for the first time the Jewish community took up arms to mount an organised defence against the Nazis.
This fierce armed, civil, intellectual and moral resistance will leave its mark on the collective Polish conscience and will later influence the form of resistance that the Poles will introduce in the face of Soviet communism. “We must fight, fight in every way we can, but find another way of doing it. No more bloodbaths!” said the leaders of the Warsaw Uprising in their testament.
Three young Europeans, Alexandra (France), Maria (Poland) and Roman (Germany), meet in Warsaw to enquire into these events; here they meet witnesses who took part in the Warsaw Uprising or lived in the ghetto. Beneath their white hair we can recognise the men and women who formed the living ramparts of freedom in the face of Nazism. They were between 12 and 20 years old at the time and their names are Janka, Dora, Bogina, Witold, Krystyna, Jerzy…
A film by ANDRE BOSSUROY, Reporters: Alexandra JASTRZEBSKA, Maria Kinga ZIELINSKA, Roman KROKE, Illustrations: Parissa MOHIT, Musique: Florian SERAUL, Production: MEDIEL with the support from the Programme Europe for citizens Active European Remembrance from the European Commission
A Belgian director and producer of documentary films. His cinematographic methodology combines several ways of approaching events: testimonies, archives and expert analysis, and also artistic creation and surveys carried out on the ground by young people acting as ‘citizen-reporters’. His films enjoy the support of programmes run by the European Commission and Parliament as well as public and private institutions.
An artist from Berlin. His work consists mainly of illustrations of historic events and biographies. Establishing an organic relationship between the past the present and the future it is characterised by an interdisciplinary approach combining art history literature philosophy sociology and pedagogy. Kroke works with a broad spectrum of schools, universities, museums, foundations, and television production companies.
Maria Kinga Zielinska
Maria has degrees in journalism, linguistics and psychology. Her work includes writing screenplays for documentary films as well as reporting and interviewing people. Through her multidisciplinary training she helps witnesses to revisit the sometimes dramatic events of the past and give their testimonies. Her work is also influenced by art, dance, interculturalism and multiculturalism.
A songwriter and composer of French origin now based in Montreal where he runs an independent folk project called Maison Brume which is critically acclaimed in France and Quebec. He also composes music for films and collaborates with amongst others the director André Bossuroy to tackle subjects relating to memories of the Second World War.
In turn a consultant, participant, reporter, screen-writer, and “free spirit of Europe”, Alexandra declares her faith in an “experiential” Europe whose current socio-cultural issues she seeks to understand. She works using non-formal educational methods on different projects: the duty of memory, international cooperation, ecology… In addition she teaches yoga and massage and uses the circus as an artistic vector for integration.
The project LE CONVOI has been selected by the European Commission to be included in the brochure “The Citizen’s effect” (2012), featuring 25 emblematic stories about the ‘Europe for Citizens Programme’.The brochure is now available online, LE CONVOI can be found at pages 60-61 in the section “Remembrance” of the brochure
“Convoy” is a documentary film inspired by the life and writings of Etty Hillesum, a young Jewish woman from Amsterdam who was deported to Auschwitz where she died in 1943 at the age of 29. Firmly set in the present, the film tells the story of Alexandra (Polish) and Florian (French), two Erasmus students who, inspired by reading the Journal of Etty Hillesum, decide to retrace her footsteps across Europe. During this “road movie”, which begins in Holland and ends in Poland, crossing through Germany and Belgium, the two “citizen reporters” meet people of different ages and backgrounds, who provide them with stories that challenge their own prejudices.
The unearthing of the fascinating historical accounts form the survivors of the concentration camps provide themes and topics of discussion very relevant to present day society; such as the origins of fear, which can lead to consider the “other” as bad, impure and to be rejected. Each stop of the journey is also an opportunity to become better acquainted with Etty Hillesum. Her thoughts, fiery and free, punctuate the narrative with conviction: “listen to the essence and depth of the other”, without ever yielding to hatred and despite the horrors witnessed.
The story of “Convoy” ends in Auschwitz, but the experience, knowledge gathered and shared emotions pave the way towards another trip, one that is within.
Original version (French)
A film by ANDRE BOSSUROY
Illustrations: ROMAN KROKE
Music: FLORIAN GRAVOUIL
Reporters: Alexandra JASTRZEBSKA, Maria ZIELINSKA, Florian GRAVOUIL
Production: MEDIEL with the support from the EACEA Agency of the European Commission (Programme Europe for citizens – Active European Remembrance)
“Ich bin” is a historical documentary addressing the memory of the victims of Nazism and of Stalinism.
They investigate the events of the Second World War in Germany (the student movement of the White Rose in Munich), in France (the Vel d’Hiv Roundup in Paris, the resistance in Vercors) and in Russia (Katyn Forest massacre).They examine the impact of these events; curious to how the European peoples are creating their identities today.
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A film by ANDRE BOSSUROY
Production: MEDIEL with the support from the Fondation Hippocrène and from the EACEA Agency of the European Commission (Programme Europe for citizens – Active European remembrance)