Polish civilian in Lodz, Radom and Warsaw, Poland, 1939-1945
REEL 1: Aspects of period in Poland, 1927-1940: family background and childhood in Lodz; reaction to outbreak of war while in Radom and lack of preparedness for German attack, 9/1939; story of escape with family eastwards and being robbed by Germans of all possessions; story about elderly grandmother; description of return journey to Lodz via Radom. Aspects of period in Poland, 1940-1945: description of re-organisation following German occupation; story of witnessing anti-Semitic incidents; story of being deported with other intelligentsia to central Poland, 2/1940; description of daily life and living conditions in small village; story of clandestine education during war.
REEL 2 Continues: further description of living conditions; problem of obtaining news on progress of war; question of awareness of camps at Auschwitz and Treblinka; story of move back to Radom, 1942; description of work in wool factory; daily life and activities of black economy during occupation; story of moving to Warsaw and father's involvement with Polish Underground, 1943; organisation of Polish Underground movement; reaction to uprising of Jewish ghetto in Warsaw and role of Polish Government in Exile; opinion of Gen. Sikorski; story of family helping Jews during war; role of father supplying weapons to the Warsaw ghetto; story of father's arrest and murder by SS; attitude to collaborators and 'Jew hunters'.
REEL 3 Continues: advantage of having Aryan appearance and good Polish accent in avoiding arrest; role of nuns in helping resistance; description of severe penalties for heling Jews; nature of Polish anti-Semitism; question of purpose of extermination camps being widely known by 1943; attitude to German propaganda about Katyn Wood massacre; reaction to death of Gen. Sikorski; story of attempting to join Polish Underground and reason for being rejected; story of return to Radom area; description of bombardment over River Vistula by Red Army; reaction to Warsaw Uprising and arrival of refugees, 1944; problem of avoiding capture for forced labour at the front; attitude to Russians not supporting Warsaw Uprising; description of daily life in Radom, 7/1944 -1/1945.
REEL 4 Continues: attitude to eventual defeat of Germany; reaction to news of July Bomb Plot against Hitler, 7/1944; opinion of the Vlasov Army; description of Russian assault on Radom and destruction of home, 15/Jan/1945; attitude to Red Army as liberators; description of changes following liberation including rebuilding of educational system and political infrastructure; story about formation of anti-Soviet underground movement; opinion of post-war conditions at Lodz University; description of persecution of anti-communist underground; effect of nationalisation programmes on political situation.
One of the most memorable elements of the Holocaust Exhibition is the video testimony by survivors which accompanies visitors along the route. But what happened to the survivors after the Second World War? How did they rebuild their lives in the years that followed their release from Nazi persecution?
As the Allies advanced across Europe at the end of the Second World War, they came across concentration camps filled with sick and starving prisoners. The first major camp to be liberated was Majdanek near Lublin, Poland in July 1944.