Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Women Falsely Punished For WWII Collaboration

Veteran Polish film director Feliks Falk has said that many women were punished unjustly for charges of collaboration with Nazi Germans during World War II.

Falk discussed the theme in Kielce on Saturday at a special screening of his latest film, Joanna. The movie won two of the top awards at last year's Polish Film Festival in Gdynia.

Joanna tells the story of a Cracovian woman whose husband was interned by the Germans in a POW camp for officers. One day she meets a Jewish child in a church, and decides to take her in. However, Joanna is shortly denounced by her fellow countrymen. Her fate seems sealed, but a German officer gives her the chance of survival, if she is prepared to collaborate with him.

“The parents and neighbours who accused the heroine of hiding a Jew were not bad,” the director reflected. “They were simply terrified.”

“The decision to hide Jews was a difficult one,” Falk continued. “Joanna conquered that fear.”

The film went on general release in Poland before Christmas. Joanna is not based on a specific historical case, but explores the dilemmas of many Poles during German occupation. The penalty in Poland for hiding Jews was death, a sentence that was invariably meted out to the entire family.

No comments: