I am the son of Holocaust survivors from Poland and for most of my life accepted my parents’ view that all Poles were incorrigible anti-Semites. But my frequent travels to Poland over the past 30 years challenged this stereotype and made me realize that Poles, like all human beings, represent a complex combination of light and darkness. This is what motivated me to make my 2005 PBS film Hiding and Seeking in which I tell the story of Poles who saved Jewish lives during the Holocaust. In the present film I will tell the story of Poles who save Jewish memory from cultural annihilation. My goal in making both of these films is to challenge the simplistic prejudices Poles and Jews often have of each other. I hope this film, like the work of the Memory Keepers themselves, contributes to halting the inter-generational transmission of hatred or prejudice.
Like many Americans I am deeply troubled by the drift towards ethno-nationalism we see not only in Europe or South America but also in our own country. I feel this film’s story of Poles who are resisting this trend and struggling for a democratic, tolerant and self-critical Poland provides an example that many Americans can relate to and be inspired by.