Three Minutes in Poland

By Glenn Kurtz,

Book cover of Three Minutes in Poland: Discovering a Lost World in a 1938 Family Film

Book description

Traveling in Europe in August 1938, one year before the outbreak of World War II, David Kurtz, the author's grandfather, captured three minutes of ordinary life in a small, predominantly Jewish town in Poland on 16 mm Kodachrome colour film. More than seventy years later, through the brutal twists of…

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2 authors picked Three Minutes in Poland as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Glenn Kurtz’s grandparents traveled to Poland in August 1938, one year before the outbreak of the Second World War, to visit family. They filmed parts of that trip, including 3 minutes in Poland, footage that ultimately became one of the last records of a once vibrant Jewish community. Decades later, Kurtz painstakingly set out to identify the people in the film. He ultimately located seven living survivors, including an eighty-six-year-old man who appeared in the film as a thirteen-year-old boy. A heartfelt and powerful telling of what it means to rescue history and stories of survival.

In this book, Kurtz recounted the discovery of a snippet of film at his parents’ home in Florida that captured pre-WWII life in Nasielsk, Poland. Fewer than 100 of the town’s 3,000 Jewish residents survived the war. Kurtz embarked on a quest to learn about the place immortalized on film, and ended up making goosebump-inducing connections with some of those 100 survivors. It’s a remarkable story of dogged research (with more than a dash of serendipity).

From Carolyn's list on WWII family searches.

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