Am forwarding an obituary about Aneta that appears in the Cosmopolitan Review.
Executive Director, Kresy-Siberia Foundation
A Passionate Life Lived: Aneta Naszynska
Sunday, 20 June 2010 18:10
2 May 1958 - 4 June 2010
Passionate, exuberant and full of life, Aneta's death was unexpected, sudden and swift. She was barely 52 and on the threshold of a new, exciting chapter in her life.
Born in Opatowek near Kalisz in Central Poland, Aneta came to England in 1981. Along with countless others, she was stranded in the west when "Solidarity" was suppressed and Martial Law declared in Poland on December 13th that year. She then made her life in London.
By profession, Aneta was a film editor. By commitment and passion she was a filmmaker: everything from funny and tender home movies cut for friends and beautiful records of her countless travels, to a very serious and significant documentation of Polish history.
Aneta came to 'Poland in the Rockies' with Jagna Wright in 2004. They came to show their film, "The Forgotten Odyssey", which was the fruit of an almost decade long collaboration. With minimal resources and against all odds, Jagna and Aneta had worked to tell the story of the mass deportations of Poles to Siberia during the Second World War. They succeeded admirably.
"The Forgotten Odyssey" filled a huge gap. Jagna and Aneta travelled extensively showing their film at screenings, (many organised by Irene Tomaszewski). Aneta described the emotion on the faces of former deportees who would come up after seeing the film to express their gratitude that they had not, after all, been "deported" out of history. For their children, the film was often the only opportunity to learn about their parents' tragic story, something which their parents had often been unwilling, or scared, to speak about. Inspired by the film, Stefan Wisniowski begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting, the son of a deportee living in Australia, created an internet chat room "Kresy - Siberia" which has now spawned a "Virtual Museum".
After relentless campaigning, "The Forgotten Odyssey" was transmitted by the History Channel, UK, and then by several other broadcasters across the world.
Jagna and Aneta immediately began their next film project. "The Other Truth", a three part documentary about Polish - Jewish relations, was the result of four years of painstaking work. This fruitful collaboration was brought to a brutal end when Jagna died three years ago of breast cancer.
Despite the tragic loss, Aneta did not put away her film camera. Her wide-ranging interests were all, in some way, connected with Poles and Poland. She leaves a rich library of film footage: ranging from the anniversary commemorations of the battle for Monte Casino where she interviewed many veterans (including the tragically deceased President Ryszard Kaczorowski) to a visit to the Katyn Memorial Cemetery where she once more interviewed President Kaczorowski along with Andrzej Przewoznik, who was also one of the victims of the Smolensk catastrophe. In Warsaw she filmed interviews with veterans of the Warsaw Uprising. She travelled to India in the footsteps of Wanda Dynowska Sri Umadevi, a Polish woman who worked with Ghandi and the Dalai Lama to serve India, and was a great friend to the Polish orphans who spent some time as refugees in India. Umadevi, a fascinating and colourful personality, was to be the subject of another of Aneta's films. She also planned to film interviews with still surviving Polish airmen who had served in the Polish squadrons of the RAF during the Second World War. Her overriding aim was to win the fight against time and to preserve their testimony. Only recently she uncovered unique film material in a British archive of a successful Polish Himalayan expedition to Nanda Devi East made in the summer of 1939. She hoped to make a documentary film about the expedition.
Some two years ago, Aneta became fascinated by the story of Ignacy Domejko - a Pole who justifiably became a great Chilean national hero. She went to Chile on a research trip, accompanying her son on the start of his gap year travels. In December of last year she returned to Chile to continue her work on the story. Apart from the work, her Chilean adventure was also a moment of great personal fulfilment and happiness with her partner, Edgardo.
All this was cruelly interrupted by illness. The first signs came soon after the Chilean earthquake in February, wrongly diagnosed as epilepsy. At end of April, Aneta found herself in hospital. A pre-operational MRI scan revealed a widespread, malignant and inoperable brain tumour. The end came all too swiftly. Friends and family barely had time to absorb the news of her grave illness. Aneta went into a coma and died on the evening of 4 June at the hospital in Antofagasta.
"Her enthusiasm was infectious," wrote Aneta of our friend Jagna just three years ago. In this they were alike. Aneta radiated a vital energy. She lived life to the full, never still, always positive, forever laughing; always passionate, interested and curious about the world. Almost everyone she met became a friend.
As news of Aneta's illness and death spread, friends were stunned. The flood of emails from all corners of the world and from an extraordinarily wide array of people has brought some small solace to her nearest family and closest friends. We are all devastated by her leaving us so suddenly when she was still so young and happy, with so many plans, in mid flight.
A Requiem Mass will be held for Aneta at noon on Friday 16 July 2010 at the Polish Catholic Church, Windsor Road, London W5 5DP.
Wanda Koscia, a documentary director whose work includes "The Battle for Warsaw," was a speaker at Poland in the Rockies in 2008.
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