Leora Tec was aware growing up that Poland was the country of her ancestors“ but as she explained in a 2014 interview with the Connecticut Jewish Ledger “I had no interest in traveling to the country of my mother’s birth. . . They had rejected my people, had stood by while we were murdered and I did not owe them any allegiance.” Her sense of identity began to transform after her first visit to Poland in 2005, when she joined her mother, Nechama Tec Holocaust scholar and survivor on a book tour for her memoir “Dry Tears” recently translated into Polish. Upon visiting the town of Lublin, where her mother was born, Tec was surprised to find herself surrounded by non-Jewish Poles dedicating their lives to preserving the memory of pre-war Polish Jewry.
After witnessing the heartfelt work of commemoration of Jewish life being done by non-Jewish Poles in Poland, Tec founded “Bridge to Poland” to assure that others would witness the light of reconciliation possible even in the shadow of the darkest history.
Glenn Kurtz’s journey to pre-war Poland,started closer to home when he came upon a home movie in his parents Florida home. The film was taken by his grandfather In 1938, by then a US citizen, while on vacation that included a visit to his home town of Nasielsk, Poland. As Kurtz explained to Rachel Martin in a 2014 interview on NPR “I realized it was 1938. And there are all of these beautiful images of children and adults in this town, one year before World War II begins. I was just haunted by these faces. They’re so happy to be filmed, they’re so excited to see these Americans coming to visit the town. And of course I know something that they don’t know — which is what’s about to happen.”
Glenn’s discovery led him on a riveting four year journey to find the people in the film and to restore the memory of a once thriving Jewish community. He captured the journey in his bestselling 2014 book “Three Minutes in Poland: Discovering a Lost World in a 1938 Family Film.
During the week of Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day), join Hebrew College and the Jewish Arts Collaborative for “Poland: Uncovering the Past and Revealing the Future” to hear Kurtz and Tec’s powerful stories of Poland.
Monday, May 9, 2016 – 7:30pm
Hebrew College, Newton