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Director: Roberta Grossman

Producer: Roberta Grossman

Editor: Chris Callister, Ondine Rarey

Cast: Jowita Budnik, Piotr Glowacki, Piotr Jankowski, Wojciech Zielinski

Cinamatographer: Dyanna Taylor

Music: Todd Boekelheide




Who Will Write Our History

Madison Premiere • documentary • USA • 2018 • DCP • English, Yiddish, Polish with English subtitles • 96 MIN

section: American Visions

In the fall of 1939, 400,000 Jewish residents of Warsaw, Poland were corralled into a walled off, overcrowded ghetto where, for the next four years, they were systematically starved and brutalized, forced to turn on each other, and eventually shipped off to concentration camps. From inside the ghetto, Emanuel Ringelblum, a Polish-Jewish historian, launched a desperate, secretive campaign to preserve the history and the voices of those about to be wiped off the face of the earth. Ringelblum formed a collective of 60 artists, academics, and writers known as Oyneg Shabes (The Joys of Shabbat) to achieve a goal of preservation: writing and collecting diaries, journals, and photographs - and then hiding them from the Nazis. Their struggle forms the basis of Roberta Grossman's hauntingly immersive documentary, which utilizes a nimble blend of extensive archival footage, vivid re-enactments, talking head interviews, and voice-over readings of the contemporaneous journals of those involved. Grossman skillfully and eloquently paints a complete and devastating picture of one of the most notorious episodes of barbarism and genocide in recent human history. As Ringelblum and his compatriots heroically struggled to ensure their history wouldn’t be rewritten by German propagandists, their story shines a light on the importance of journalism and documentation in the face of oppression and inhumanity that seems especially urgent and timely in 2019. (BR)

Presented with support from the Mosse/Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies

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