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Re: Pianist

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  • jagna8@aol.com
    Hallo group - this is the translation of part of the article from Dziennik Polski: Pianist in America By Stanislaw Kokesz And how can we possibly talk about
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 1, 2003
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      Hallo group - this is the translation of part of the article from Dziennik Polski:

      'Pianist' in America
      By Stanislaw Kokesz
      And how can we possibly talk about Polish-Jewish reconciliation? Maybe somewhere else yes, but not here, in America. On the one hand there is chairman Moskal, speaking on behalf of the American Polish Congress: he says of himself that he is not an anti-Semite, and often is right to criticize some organizations of American Jews, but the tone and form of his statements are incorrect, and contribute to further antagonize people, not only Jews.
      On the other hand, there is an anti-Polish section of American Jews, from time to time making itself heard. It happened again on the occasion of Roman Polanski's 'Pianist'.
      There are opinions, also in print, that the film falsifies history and whitewashes the Poles (it was the term actually used), for it shows that Poles helped the pianist to survive the occupation by hiding him. After all, they know that Poles were helping the Nazis.
      It is irrelevant that this is a true story, based on the memoirs of the pianist, Wladyslaw Szpilman; it is irrelevant that there were many stories like that, and Polanski knows about it because he himself survived the occupation of Poland. Those who were not in Poland at that time know better. Much more truthful for them is 'Schindler's List'. Steven Spielberg, who was not at that time in Poland, showed  Poles in a Cracow street, rejoicing at the sight of Jews being led to the ghetto.
      It is possible that such things did happen, but when one shows in the film only this kind of Polish reaction, it becomes a generalization; one can easily conclude from it that all the Poles rejoiced.
      Let's assume that I am making a film about the Soviet occupation of Kresy, and that I show a scene where Jews rejoice when Polish soldiers and policemen are taken into slavery, showering abuse at defenceless policemen. If I did not show Jews who reacted differently, that would have been a generalization.
      However, it would have been a true scene. I was thirteen and witnessed it in the B. Chrobry Street in Luck. At the same time I knew that this was not the behaviour of all the Jews, for my school friends and Jews I knew reacted differently. I continued being in love with Kasia - has she survived Siberia, I wonder? After all, some Jews were deported by the NKVD as well.
      Why am I writing about it? Because after 'Schindler's List', the film in which the positive hero is an Austrian, the scene from the Cracow street has become the generalization for Polish attitudes to the annihilation of the Jews. The director of the American film about the uprising in the Warsaw ghetto, who has also never been to Poland, went even further, suggesting that the Poles were indifferent and did not help the Jews.
      Polanski did spend German occupation in Poland, but according to some (maybe a minority) of American Jews he is whitewashing the Poles. Luckily, there are also other opinions, and most reviews do not mention this aspect of the film at all, praising it highly'.

      It seems to me that it simply and convincingly pinpoints the problem with the reception of Polanski's most moving film.
      Jagna Wright


    • Stefan Wisniowski
      Jagna Thank you for sharing this article, which eloquently points out the danger of ethnic generalisations by drawing parallels between the Holocaust and our
      Message 2 of 2 , Mar 2, 2003
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        Re: [Kresy-Siberia] Re: Pianist Jagna

        Thank you for sharing this article, which eloquently points out the danger of ethnic generalisations by drawing parallels between the Holocaust and our own families Kresy experience.

        Now, how can we get that film made about the Soviet occupation of Kresy?

        Stefan Wisniowski

        From: jagna8@...
        Subject: [Kresy-Siberia] Re: Pianist

        ...Let's assume that I am making a film about the Soviet occupation of Kresy, and that I show a scene where Jews rejoice when Polish soldiers and policemen are taken into slavery, showering abuse at defenceless policemen. If I did not show Jews who reacted differently, that would have been a generalization....
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