Bogdan Bialek’s story is a remarkable one – and has much to teach us about how to bridge seemingly impassable divides. In our day, a rising tide of polarization serves to demonize and stigmatize the “Other”, often to simply advance self-interest. Yet, Bogdan succeeded in helping the children and grandchildren of the perpetrators and victims of a terrible hate crime find a path to discuss reconciliation and understanding in order to break a cycle of hate, mistrust, guilt, and shame and, hopefully, to fashion a new and healthier relationship between Polish Christians and Jews.
In the documentary, “Bogdan’s Journey”, you will meet a courageous teacher, psychologist, and charismatic public intellectual, Bogdan Bialek. He has made it his life’s work to build trust and understanding in the town of Kielce, Poland. As a resident of Kielce, Bogdan, has devoted himself to fostering a public dialogue about the memory of a post-Holocaust pogrom in the town. On July 4, 1946, a year after the Holocaust ended, some forty Holocaust survivors were murdered by the citizens of Kielce and its surroundings. Many of the survivors had recently returned from the “refuge” they had taken in the Soviet Union to escape Nazi persecution. Most could not return to their homes in Poland and were living in a shelter for Jews.
Following the film, our special guests – Bogdan Bialek along with co-directors Michal Jaskulski and Lawrence Loewinger will participate in a panel discussion moderated by USM Professor Abraham Peck and MJFF Board Member Piotrek Stamieszkin. The discussion will explore the search for meaningful and actionable ways to make healing and reconciliation possible among seemingly unbridgeable divides, and how such dialog can prevent future hateful confrontations.
Documentary / Dir: Michal Jaskulski and Lawrence Loewinger / 2016 Poland-USA / Polish, English, Hebrew w/ English subtitles / 83 minutes
Camera of David Special Award at Warsaw Jewish Film Festival 2016; Interfaith Awards Best Documentary at St. Louis International Film Festival 2016; Best Documentary Award at Jersey City International Television and Film Festival 2016; CAMERIMAGE International Film Festival (Poland, 2016), Millenium Docs Against Gravity International Film Festival (Poland, 2016) and Watch Docs – Human Rights in Film 2016, Copenhagen Jewish Film Festival 2017.