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, weapons at hand, 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.
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…
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.
Discover more about the Warsaw Uprising:
“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)
“Ich bin” is a historical documentary addressing the memory of the victims of Nazism and of Stalinism.
Four young Europeans meet with historians and witnesses of our past…
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.
This documentary, produced and directed by André Bossuroy, is accompanied by the original compositions of the French musician Florian Gravouil (listen it online) and by the Berlin stationed artist Roman Kroke, who has interpreted the meetings and the historical events with his illustrations (www.roman-kroke.de).
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