WHO WILL WRITE OUR HISTORY – A Review by Cynthia Flores
When this must-see film starts out, it asks the question “Will we write our history or will the Germans?” Who Will Write Our History mixes the writings of the Oyneg Shabes archive with new interviews, rarely seen footage and shocking dramatizations to bring to life what it was like inside the Warsaw Ghetto.
In Warsaw, November 1940, days after the Nazis sealed off 450,000 Jews in the ghetto, a secret band of Jewish journalists, scholars and community leaders decided to fight back. Led by historian Emanuel Ringelblum (Piotr Glowacki) and known by the code name Oyneg Shabes, this clandestine group vowed to defeat Nazi lies and propaganda about them. Not with guns or fists but with pen and paper documenting everything that was going on at the time. This is the first time a feature film has been done on the lives of these courageous resistance fighters. They defied their murderous enemy with the ultimate weapon – the truth – and risked everything so that their archive would survive the war, even if they did not.
This documentary does a great job mixing the reenactments with the historical footage to flesh out the story. All of it backed up by eyewitness accounts. The voice over work of passages and pieces from the archive is brilliant, there is a poem called I Am Hungry that will haunt you. However, as dark as this film’s reality can get, it leaves you with a sense of hope that the truth will always win out in the end.
This is a timely film that shows us what propaganda can do to a whole race of people. Unfortunately, we live in a time where what is real and what is fake concerning our news is at a flashpoint. I hope you take the time to watch this film because as Winston Churchill said, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
Who Will Write Our History will be part of the January 27th, 2019, International Day of Commemoration in the Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust with a global screening event that is happening here in Texas as well. I give this eye-opening documentary an A rating.
Directed by Roberta Grossman
Written By Roberta Grossman, Samuel Kassow
Running Time 1hr 35min
Limited Release January 27th Texas Theater (Dallas), Santikos Bijou (San Antonio), The Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies (Austin)
Starring: Jowita Budnik, Piotr Glowacki, Piotr Jankowski, Wojciech Zielinski, Facebook Live event
The Selig Rating Scale:
A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
B – Good movie
C – OK movie
D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.