In the documentary Bogdan’s Journey you will meet a courageous teacher, psychologist, and charismatic public intellectual Bogdan Bialek. Bogdan’s life work has been devoted to building trust and understanding in one town, Kielce! The film, Bogdan’s Journey, tells his story and that of Jews and other Poles he invites into the effort of reconciliation.
As a resident of Kielce, Bogdan, has devoted himself to fostering a public dialogue about the memory of a post-Holocaust pogrom in Kielce, Poland. Some forty holocaust survivors were murdered on July 4, 1946, a year after the war ended. Many survivors had recently returned from the “refuge” they took the Soviet Union. Most could not return to their homes in Poland and were living in a shelter for Jews.
7 Planty Street in Kielce was the address of a Joint Distribution Committee communal shelter. Some of these survivors were searching for relatives, some were on their way to Palestine and some had hoped to return to their homes in Poland. From 1944 to 1948, Poland faced instability and near civil war conditions.
In Bogdan Białek we witness an individual compelled by his courageous engagement with people in classrooms, public meetings, on the streets, any place where a dialogue can begin. Bogdan seeks to educate Poles about what happened in their town and to ask them how they understand the events. What will be their reaction to this unsavory past?
In the film we journey with Bogdan to Israel to meet survivors of the pogrom, seeking their understanding and engagement. Dr. Bialek is not in search of “cheap grace” and this film makes clear his enormous spiritual courage without hagiography.
There is no straight line to achieving understanding and reconciliation; the film’s issues deserve to be discussed and studied by Poles and Jews together. The documentary is the product of ten years of effort by its co-directors, a Jewish-American Lawrence Loewinger and Polish, Michal Jaskulski. The generational and sensitivities The Progressive Polish Jewish Community (also see here for this) is proud to invite people from all walks of life to this sensitive and important film