Pavel Stingl: The Baluty Ghetto

I owe Pavel Stingl an apology. I never believed that it would be possible to combine his moving story about the Czech Jews who were deported to the Lodz ghetto with the story about the people who live there today in, yes, you could also call it a ghetto with another, of course completely different, meaning of the word.

But he has succeeded to do so with the help of cameraman/director Miroslav Janek and the careful and never-going-for-the-easy-solution editing work of Tonicka Jankova. Out comes a big and important film, a historical as well as an actual interpretation of lives lived, and lives lost.

The part about the Czech Jews Stingl is narrated through close-up interviews with the survivors, who convey their horror stories about how their dear ones were sent off to Auschwitz or died right in front of them, of starvation or illness. These stories are carried by the photos from the Baluity Ghetto taken by Henryk Ross, who could move freely around and documented the ghetto life with more than thousand photos. In the part about the Poles today – who live where the Jews used to live – the camera catches interiors of incredible poverty and situations with people, who for some are old enough to remember that the Jews lived there, and situations with young people who perform antisemitic graffitti on the walls. Misery and aggression. Lack of education and knowledge about the past.

Czech Republic/Poland, 2008, 83 mins.

Share your love
Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

Articles: 3859