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“Bogdan’s Journey” is a story about conflict and reconciliation, about contemporary Poland and its Jewish past. Kielce, Poland, was the site of Europe’s last Jewish pogrom. In 1946, townspeople killed 40 Holocaust survivors seeking shelter in a downtown building, injuring 80 more. As the news spread across Poland, Jews fled the country, and the Kielce pogrom became a symbol of Polish postwar anti-Semitism in the Jewish world. Under communism, the pogrom was a forbidden subject, but it was never forgotten. In a free Poland, Bogdan Białek — a Catholic Pole, journalist, and psychologist — emerges to talk publicly about the issue. Over time, with great effort, he persuades the people of Kielce to confront this painful history. Beginning as a solitary figure, he confronts the deepest prejudices in his fellow citizens and strives to reconnect Kielce with the outside Jewish community. The effort costs him dearly. Filming for almost a decade, the documentary’s directors, a Polish Catholic and a Jewish American, combine to tell a unique story about one man and how he redeems 70 years of bitter, contested memories — by telling the truth with love.
CountryIsrael Poland U.S.
Film CategoryEastern European Focus Interfaith Competition International Spotlight Leon & Mary Strauss Documentary Spotlight Mean Streets: Viewing the Divided City Through the Lens of Film and Television
SubjectHolocaust Human Rights Jewish Religion/Faith
Mean Streets is a program of The Divided City: An Urban Humanities Initiative. With the support of the Mellon Foundation, Washington U.’s Center for the Humanities, in partnership with the College of Architecture and Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Design, is engaged in a four-year initiative called The Divided City, which addresses one of the most persistent and vexing issues in urban studies: segregation.