“Aftermath”, a Polish Film Based on Jan T. Gross’ “Neighbors” Is Released

aftermath_us_poster_1_lgAftermath, a Polish film based on the historical book Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland by Jan T. Gross, was recently released in limited showing in the United States, including New York City and Los Angeles (with Boston, Chicago and more to come shortly).

The official website for the film can be found here on Menemsha Films’ website, which includes a short synopsis, a trailer, photos from the film, and reviews. It also has links to locations and showtimes for the film in the United States.

The film was reviewed by The New York Times, which can be found here.


k7018One summer day in 1941, half of the Polish town of Jedwabne murdered the other half, 1,600 men, women, and children, all but seven of the town’s Jews. Neighbors tells their story.

This is a shocking, brutal story that has never before been told. It is the most important study of Polish-Jewish relations to be published in decades and should become a classic of Holocaust literature.

Jan Gross pieces together eyewitness accounts and other evidence into an engulfing reconstruction of the horrific July day remembered well by locals but forgotten by history. His investigation reads like a detective story, and its unfolding yields wider truths about Jewish-Polish relations, the Holocaust, and human responses to occupation and totalitarianism. It is a story of surprises: The newly occupying German army did not compel the massacre, and Jedwabne’s Jews and Christians had previously enjoyed cordial relations. After the war, the nearby family who saved Jedwabne’s surviving Jews was derided and driven from the area. The single Jew offered mercy by the town declined it.

Most arresting is the sinking realization that Jedwabne’s Jews were clubbed, drowned, gutted, and burned not by faceless Nazis, but by people whose features and names they knew well: their former schoolmates and those who sold them food, bought their milk, and chatted with them in the street. As much as such a question can ever be answered, Neighbors tells us why.

Comments

  1. The Polish film “Aftermath” is worth seeing and thinking about. It is fictional, probably based on what really happened in Jedwable. Two Polish brothers (ages about 40) discover evidence that their own deceased parents participated in an atrocity (killing 26 families and appropriating their property). The younger brother thinks it would be better to keep quiet; he is afraid foreign media will use the evidence to darken Poland’s reputation. The older brother feels morally bound to share the discovery with the entire world.

    Several days before seeing the film I faced the same dilemma, after finding three racist documents on Polish fora. After some hesitation I translated them and posted them at my university website:
    http://pages.csam.montclair.edu/~kowalski/racism/racism3.html

    I hope that by translating and posting these documents I am not helping racists to spread the ideology of hatred.
    Ludwik Kowalski, Ph.D.

    http://csam.montclair.edu/~kowalski/life/intro.html