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Poland: Long-Term Population Decline

Poland’s natural population decline has reached its highest level since the Second World War, according to new data from Statistics Poland (GUS), a government agency.

Notes from Poland

Poland is also losing population due the emigration of an estimated 1.7 million Poles to other parts of the EU.

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Israeli President: “many Poles stood by and even assisted in the murder of Jews.”

Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin speaking to his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda:

We remember that Nazi Germany initiated, planned and implemented the genocide of the Jewish people in Poland and other places and that it takes full responsibility for its actions. And we also remember, with distress, that significant assistance came from across all of Europe, and that also demands the acceptance of responsibility.

See also, Haaretz.

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History: ‘Auschwitz Untold’ on History

This History special depicts the Nazi persecution and extermination of European Jews by combining newly colorized footage from the Holocaust and rare, first person interviews with survivors. Seventy-five years after the liberation, these survivors, who were young children at the time of the Holocaust, reflect on the tragic circumstances that lead to their internment and reveal the ways in which they survived the brutal Nazi campaign. Ultimately, a story of incredible courage, faith, and resilience emerges from the darkness of this horrific chapter in history.

The documentary premieres on January 26, 2020.

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Movie Review: ‘Ida’

Anna, a young woman training to be a nun in 1960s Poland is on the verge of taking her vows when she meets her only living relative for the first time and learns that she is Jewish and that her real name is Ida Lebenstein. Together they discover what happened to Anna/Ida’s family.

This jewel is only 82 minutes long and every moment makes good use of the viewer’s time. The story is one example of the decimation of Poland’s Jews during World War II. But in the end, this is not a film about Poland or the Holocaust – but about life.

The film is entirely in black and white. The places photographed are ordinary yet the cinematography is stunning. Each scene looks like a black and white photograph made by a Magnum photographer using a Leica camera. Ida (pictured above) is played by Agata Trzebuchowska. Her character is sweet, innocent and beautiful. Her aunt Wanda – Agata Kulesza – is a superb actress. The language is Polish with English subtitles.

Pawel Pawlikowski directed the film. He was born in Warsaw in 1957. At the age of 14, Pawlikowski left Poland to live in Germany and Italy, before settling in Britain. In 2004,he directed My Summer of Love with Emily Blunt and Natalie Press.

This film touched me deeply and left me thinking for a long time about what’s important and what’s not. It’s among the best films I have seen.

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