2 August 2016


During my high school history lessons in the 1970s and 80s, twentieth century Poland was always portrayed as something of an unfortunate country, seemingly trapped (even cursed) by the twin burdens of its history and geography. Fortunately we had some Polish kids (the grand-children of servicemen and women who had decided to stay in the UK after 1945) who ensured that at least the Polish people could not be so sweepingly misrepresented. Yet it is a country of contrasts in a number of ways and this short film by Matty Brown visualises this dichotomy in a beautifully vivid way.

Perhaps it is best for Mr Brown to explain in his own words: Poland has this tension that is slowly healing itself as time goes by and newer generations emerge, but you cannot look in any direction without the constant reminder of the past whether it is the remnants of the ghetto wall, or the cautious faces of the elderly. This piece was supposed to be about Auschwitz, but in making the video the surprise was how vibrant, tough, and full of life the Polish people are. I was as emotionally impacted with these new wonderful friends and sensory overload of the gorgeous present-day country as I was with sympathy and sadness at the camps. Even though they are very tough souls, I started to admire them and their country.

If you would like to learn a little more - very quickly - about the country, take a look at the Animated History of Poland, which featured in the country's exhibit at the Shang Hai Expo 2010.