Three Min­utes in Poland: Dis­cov­er­ing a Lost World in a 1938 Fam­i­ly Film

  • From the Publisher
May 22, 2014

Five years ago, Glenn Kurtz dis­cov­ered three min­utes of col­or footage shot by his grand­fa­ther on a trip to the Pol­ish vil­lage of Nasiel­sk. The year is 1938. Glen­n’s grand­fa­ther inad­ver­tent­ly cap­tured a world that will not exist just one year later.

When Glenn showed the footage to an archivist at the Unit­ed States Holo­caust Memo­r­i­al Muse­um (USH­MM), he dis­cov­ered what a rare find he had made. What he had thought was a fam­i­ly memen­to is the only known footage of Nasiel­sk before its anni­hi­la­tion. Of Nasiel­sk’s approx­i­mate­ly 3,000 Jews, few­er than 100 sur­vived the war.

Three Min­utes in Poland chron­i­cles Kurtz’s search for Nasiel­sk’s lost his­to­ry, and for the iden­ti­ties of those cap­tured on film. After a series of dead ends, a woman watch­ing the 3‑minute movie on the web­site of the USH­MM iden­ti­fied a 13 year-old boy in the footage and her grand­fa­ther, Mau­rice Chan­dler, who sur­vived and lives in the U.S. And Mr. Chan­dler’s mem­o­ry helps Glenn unlock the con­tents of the film in a remark­ably vivid and mov­ing way.

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