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Saved by Deportation: An Unknown Odyssey of Polish Jews [eFilm]

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Prior to the outbreak of the Second World War, 3 million three hundred thousand Jews lived in Poland ­ By 1945 only 300,000 survived. Of the survivors, approximately 80% escaped the Holocaust as a result of Stalin’s deportation deep into the Soviet Union. This film tells the story of seven deportees, who in 1940 were sent to Gulag labor camps.. In 1940, a year before the Nazis started deporting Jews to death camps, Joseph Stalin ordered the deportation of approximately 200,000 Polish Jews from Russian-occupied Eastern Poland to forced labor settlements in the Soviet interior. As cruel as Stalin's deportations were, in the end they largely saved Polish Jewish lives, for the deportees constituted the overwhelming majority of Polish Jews who escaped the Nazi Holocaust. Saved by Deportation tells this historical irony for the first time in mainstream media.. This documentary follows Asher and Shifra Scharf, elderly Chasidic Polish Jews and former deportees, as they travel through Poland, Russia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, revisiting their places of exile, and untangling the threads of time and memory to reconstruct the events of six decades past. Their dramatic journey begins at the train station in Lvov, Poland, from where Asher and Shifra were separately deported with their families in June, 1940. The Scharfs journey next to Chelyabinsk, Russia, located in southern Siberia, where Asher tours the now abandoned coal mine where he and his father were forced to work through the harsh winters, until their release in late 1941. Asher also enters the old wooden barracks where his family and other Polish Jewish deportees lived. Incredibly, the sparse and dilapidated barracks are still used as housing for poor Russian families, and it’s a poignant scene when Asher meets the current Russian occupants, and touches the walls of his former residence that hasn’t much changed in sixty years.. Next, the Scharfs struggle against heat and exhaustion to find the neighborhood in Khujand (formerly Leninabad), Tajikistan, where Asher once lived alongside Muslims, Russians, Poles and Jews from late 1941 to 1945. Asher is warmly welcomed into the household of a 90-year old Tajik man, and it is there that Asher and the elderly man exchange personal stories and memories from World War II. The Scharfs travel next to Jeezax, Uzbekistan, where Shifra finds the street where her family lived from 1941 to 1943. Once again, the Scharfs are greeted with hospitality and given food and gifts by the local population. Finally, in the ancient city of Samarkand, Uzbekistan, the Scharfs find the home where they were married in 1945, and are affectionately welcomed by its current owners and the local population.. Returning after 60 years to Central Asia, the local Muslim populations greet the deeply religious Scharfs, who openly observed their religious ceremonies and did not attempt to hide their Jewish identity, with enormous warmth, respect, hospitality, and a bit of curiosity. The Scharfs recall that during the Second World War, when everyone suffered severe deprivation, and Hitler's Final Solution was decimating Eastern European Jewry, the local Muslims assisted the Jewish deportees streaming into Central Asia. During a time of extreme hardship caused by war and Stalinism, many reached out to those of a different ethnic background, and these cross-cultural interactions yielded rich humanistic experiences.. The journey from Poland to Siberia to Central Asia will be told not only by Asher and Shifra Scharf but also by several other Polish Jews, each detailing a particular leg of the journey. While the overall experiences of the survivors have commonalities, certain details of their stories are uniquely different. For example, for Sylvia Becker some of the most vivid memories are from the start of her journey. Fearing the approach of Hitler’s forces from the west, she fled east with her husband to Soviet-occupied Poland, from where they were deported to a labor camp
LOGTV (Firm), distributorKanopy (Firm), distributor
LOGTV, 2006.[San Francisco, California, USA] : Kanopy Streaming, 2016.
1 online resource (streaming video file) (81 minutes): digital, .flv file, sound
In Process Record.Title from title frames.FilmOriginally produced by LOGTV in 2006.In English
System details:
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Index terms:
DocumentariesEuropean/Baltic Studies
LocationCollectionCall numberStatus/Desc
WebEmoviesSTREAMINGcheck availability online (Set: 16 Apr 2018)Available on Kanopy
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