From the bucolic, traditional shtetls of the countryside to the freewheeling cultural revolution in the cities led by freethinkers, award-winning director Josh Waletzky (Partisans of Vilna) masterfully memorializes a proud culture that still inspires hope and reverence.
Image Before My Eyes - A History of Jewish Life in Poland Before the Holocaust
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
- Commentary with Director Josh Waltzky
- Illustrated Study Guide with background, bibliography and key questions for discussion
- Filmmaker Biography
- Interactive Menus
- Scene Selection
Top Customer Reviews
It features a deeper look at the rise of many social and religious movements such as socialist groups and Zionism, rural and urban Polish Jewish life, and the flourishing of Yiddish culture through literature, theater and music.
The documentary was released over twenty years ago, so the video interviews are obviously dated (late 1970's), and some of the archival footage is in poor condition, but Image Before My Eyes restores us to a vanished world -- the vibrant cultural legacy of Poland's 3.5 million Jews that was nearly wiped out by the Holocaust.
The DVD includes a commentary with director Josh Waltzky, an illustrated study guide with discussion questions, and scene selection.
In 1939, there were 3.5 million Jews in Poland and at the end of WW II, only 250,000 survived. A rich cultural tradition, 900 years long, was practically decimated by the Nazis and their collaborators. In Part One "The Setting", viewers are provided a glimpse of Poland before WW I. Farming was the main economic activity, especially amongst the Gentiles. There were not many Jews in the farming villages, and most Jews resided in towns or shtetls. Video reels of the period (the quality may not be very clear, but the fact that these evidence of vibrant Jewish life actually survived the war is a marvel in itself) portray life in the shtetls - the sense of camaraderie and community is strong. One survivor, Chiena Kossowksy recalls life in one such shtetl, her voice lending credence to what was and is now gone forever. Photographs of monumental wooden synagogues which were a hallmark of Jewish life in the shtetls show viewers the magnitude of the loss, as they were destroyed by the Nazis and their collaborators during the Holocaust. Also interesting is the contrast between the shtetl Jews and the city Jews.Read more ›
The only negative thought was that the length was too, much too, short. Wish there was more.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This movie was interesting, although not as much as I thought it would be, but it did help with my understanding of the Jewish plight at this time of history.Published on December 15, 2013 by Darla
I cannot tell you about this book because it was a gift to a Christian Jewish friend. I have great sympathy toward all the victims of Hitler and it baffles me to no end why so... Read morePublished on December 14, 2013 by Sandra Hinton
Love history of times past and of the time pre-WWll when the world was young and people trusted almost everyone...Published on November 22, 2012 by Edmund Singleton
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