A documentary about teenagers from the town of Litomyšl in Eastern Bohemia who get cameras and set out to find strong and beautiful stories of many Jewish families that used to live here until 1942. The search ties the young generation with their grandparents and builds new bridges. A film full of entertainment, surprises, education and pop music.
The Neighbours Disappeared or Searching... Kids from Hartmanice
An episode from the series Lost Neighbours - Teen Cameras Search for Traces of Jewish Fellow-Citizens. The mountain village of Hartmanice is situated in Southwestern Bohemia, 20 km from the German border, in the former Sudetenland... The film was shot by eight local children aged 11-15. One of them says: "Hartmanice is an out-of-the-way place. I am glad to be able to shoot the film, at least we have something to do otherwise everybody here just sits at home watching TV and doing nothing else. That's boring. First we thought this project was bullshit - to look for people who were no longer here and whom we didn't know!" In 1930 Hartmanice had 696 inhabitants - Germans, Czechs and Jews. In 1942 the number of inhabitants was 821, no Czechs or Jews. They were arrested or fled. Today, 733 people live in Hartmanice, mostly Czech nationals, and the kids start to recapture memory...
Children of Stalinism
„CHILDREN OF STALINISM“are those who grew up in 50s in communist Czechoslovakia and experienced the Velvet Revolution. They opened up for the documentaries to give a testimony of the past. The communist regime robbed them of their childhood, they have often never seen one or both of their parents, or not until they came back from the communist prisons. They often ended up in the care of their relatives or in institutional care, at worst. They were labeled “children of the enemy”, or “criminals’ children” and were deprived of opportunities to get higher education, and condemned to live at the margins of the society. They were not guilty of anything, but had to live lives of sinners. This goes like a red thread through all fourteen 26 minutes long parts of “Children of Stalinism” series. The parts of the series are not only testimonies of political prisoners and their families as seen through the eyes of their children, but they also attempt to understand and mediate main protagonists’ life as they live it now and as it was shaped by their difficult past.
The Neighbours Disappeared or Searching... And Only Memories Remained...
The testimony of witnesses recollecting their fellow Jewish citizens living in Litomyšl before World War II. (Edited and Produced only for educational purposes.)
Dasha is Coming Back
CHILDREN OF STALINISM - Dasha decided to visit her birthplace. She does not recognize anything and anyone there – she left when she was 2 years. Despite the passage of time, the memories of the elderly local inhabitants are still not wretched… What does Dasha´s birthplace have in store for her? After the decades, Dasha decided to visit her birthplace in the beautiful mountain region of Beskydy. Nothing is familiar to her there anymore. She had to leave when she was 2 years old. Her mum was imprisoned in 1949 for helping Mr.Vrba, a wounded anticommunist foreman. Her daddy had been chased by Members of State Secret Police until they finally run him down in the local deep forest where he was in hiding. Small Dasha was brought up by her grandparents in Ostrava, a big town far-away from her native village. Even though Dasha’s memory is wretched, that of local denizens and neighbours is much richer. What does Nový Hrozenkov have for Dasha to discover?
I am in the Garden
CHILDREN OF STALINISM series. A reconstruction of the cycling tour made by Mrs. Vera she used to make when visiting her father in jail. Ghosts of the past headed by K. Gottwald, first Czechoslovak working class President, appear…The film forms a dialogue between digital pictures and archive newsreels. A stylized reconstruction of a half-century-old cycling tour of the main protagonist Mrs. Věra Pavlovcová. A bizarre portrait of an aging woman, a daughter of political prisoner, imprisoned and tortured by the former Czechoslovak communist regime in 1950’s, who sets out on journey to visit her father in Valdice prison. On the way through scrubby family garden with its glasshouse, through region at the foothill of Krkonoše Mountains with stops at the graveyard and athletic stadium, ghost of the past – including Klement Gottwald (the first Czechoslovak working-class president), his wife Marta and granddaughter Batul – are appearing. As a matter of form, it is an attempt to knot together a dialogue between contemporary digital pictures and archive film newsreels, still present in our memory …
For My Dad
Documentary “For My Dad” is a story of a woman, whose father was in 1950’s sentenced for his political activities to 25 years of imprisonment. What is the life of a child growing up in a rotten society of communist regime like? What is the burden a child present at the arrest of her own father and labeled traitor of a nation has to bear? Mrs. Bočková asks herself if she should revenge or forget about the past and go on with her life as if nothing had happened. However, to live to tell the story and warn future generations is Mrs. Bočková's life mission. It is because fear and worries about her family are still part of her life.
CHILDREN OF STALINISM Series. One day in the ordinary life of an (extra) ordinary woman. Lída Voříšková was fi ve years old when her father died in a communist prison in 1950s. Lída is always on the way…to the library, to the local graveyard, to the school, to her cousins’ place outside Prague… One day in an ordinary life of an extraordinary woman. Although retired Lída Voříšková is always on the way. Her destinations are not far away – local graveyard, library, language school where she works as a cleaning lady, her cousins’ place outside Prague. People and places make up her world. Some are still alive, others, as her father who died in a communist prison, not. She was 5 years old, when she last saw him. Nevertheless, her dad and his absence go through her life as a red line. This is just one day, and Mrs. Voříšková is still on the way.
Journey to my Father
CHILDREN OF STALINISM Series. Eva is getting on the train. On her way across Czech Republic, from Ostrava to Jáchymov (where she used to go to see her father, a political prisoner sentenced to work for years with uranium), she refl ects on her relationship with her dad, her memories and the past era… A story of Eva Langrová whose father was unjustly sentenced in communist show trials. Over the years her father spent in Jáchymov forced labor camp the distance between Eva and her father grew. The story is built around Eva’s memories of visits to her father in Jáchymov labor camp Eva and her relatives used to make once a year. After 50 years Eva sets again on a journey across Czech Republic, from Ostrava to Jáchymov, and reflects on her relationship with her father, and the past era, she grew up in. Her memories are interlarded with extracts from letters her father used to send her from prison.
I am not Afraid to Speak
CHILDREN OF STALINISM Series. Gita’s father was executed while her mum was given a life sentence and subsequently released aft er 7 years. Amidst the Easter in the small Slovak village, Gita, a tireless fi ghter for communist regime victims’ rights encounters the opinions of those from her village… Život Margarity Zimamové byl formován dvěma tragickými událostmi, otec byl v 50. letech popraven, matka byla odsouzena na doživotí a později propuštěna. Jako dcera politických vězňů se Margita musela odstěhovat z rodné Bratislavy do malé vesnice Lovča, kde žije dodnes. Do boje proti nespravedlnostem páchaných na stejně postižených obětech komunistického režimu na Slovensku se tato odhodlaná, zapálená a neúnavná bojovnice snaží angažovat každého, od svých nejbližších, svého manžela nevyjímaje, po lidi zcela neznámé. Dokument představí současný Margitin život na vesnici v okruhu rodiny v době velikonočních svátků. Právě o Velikonocích si totiž silně věřící Margita připomíná mučednickou smrt svého otce. Margitin život je však zobrazen z mnohem více perspektiv, během návštěvy kostela, v okamžicích domácí pohody s manželem a vnučkou, skrze kroniku, do které si pečlivě zaznamenává své politické aktivity, ohlasy na ně, jako i své vlastní články. Pohled okolní společnosti na její činnost navíc zprostředkuje anketa provedená mezi obyvateli vesnice. Margita je zde známou postavou, a ne všichni sympatizují s její angažovanou činností. Dokument je především portrétem velmi netradiční ženy, která svá traumata dokázala proměnit v pozitivum. Minulost narušená politickou situací v komunistickém Československu ji dovedla jako jednu z mála žen ve stále ještě velmi konzervativním a uzavřeném prostředí slovenské vesnice k rozhodnutí „nebát se otvorene hovoriť“ o minulosti.
Justice is in Gods Hands
CHILDREN OF STALINISM Series. Markéta is a judge and the daughter of known political prisoner who was sentenced in 1952 to six years for high treason in a show trial. The documentary depicts a strong relationship between the father and the daughter during the last days of doctor’s Jakub Čermín life… Prague and Slatina, a little village between Prague and Pilsen, are two places that make up Marketa’s home. Slatina is connected to her childhood. As a child she spent there a lot of time and still loves to come back. In Prague she is fully occupied with her professional carrier as a judge. It has not been long since she was also preoccupied with taking care of her father who died in the age of 92. The relationship between him and Markéta was exceptionally strong and their dialogues form the axes of the documentary. In Slatina everything goes in a slower pace, love and peace with which the cottage there was built fills the atmosphere, whereas in Prague life is different, hectic. However, even in Prague, Markéta has her own places she goes to ponder; St.Antoine Church on the Strossmayer’s square, where years ago Alois Kánský, family friend used to give sermons, Boromej garden, where she used to go to visit her father. Dr.Čermínová a judge, and Markéta, a daughter and a bearer of Dr.Jakub Čermín legacy, these are two of her roles depicted in the documentary
Children of Stalinism: Swiss Robinson
Jan Hlach doesn’t seem to differ much from his neighbours living in the outskirts of Fribourg in Switzerland. As well as the others, he mows the lawn, looks after the garden, says hello with a smile on the way to the shop. Most people have in fact no idea whatsoever that Jan immigrated to Switzerland in 1968, leaving behind a country that imprisoned both of his parents for long years and didn’t let him live a dignified life. However, Jan remembers the past very well and does his best in his retirement to remind the rest of us not only of his parents, but also of all the people whose deeds illuminate the dark history of the Czechoslovak 1950s.
Children of Stalinism
The documentaries about the sons of political prisoners from the "Children of Stalinism" series reflect the destinies of the descendants of people imprisoned during the times of the Stalinist totalitarian regime in former Czechoslovakia. Their parents were sent to prisons and uranium mines for many years because of their personal or political belief, status or possession (farms, private companies, factories etc.); sometimes also because they were only helping other people. These sons, now nearly seventy, were called "children of criminals and enemies of the state" at the time of their childhood and youth. They share their personal testimonies of the dark past in the post-war period of former Czechoslovakia. They experienced a rather obscure type of persecution, sentenced by the totalitarian system to the "life of the guilty without guilt". They often grew up with just one parent or their relatives, or even in orphan homes. They could not study at the schools of their desire and usually had to complete their education later on. Each of the protagonists dealt with their destiny in a different manner – through sport, poetry, family life, or emigration. The six documentaries try to understand their contemporary life which is still influenced by their childhood experiences of many years ago. EPISODES: The Story of Josef Frolík, Long Live the Memory, Musical Chairs, Everything Is Different, The Swiss Robinson, With Dad Over a Distance.
Children of Jewish Communists – 1950s Political Prisoners – Audiovisual Testimonies
Testimonies by descendents of political prisoners of the 1950s, whose parents were of Jewish origin and also were top representatives of the Czechoslovak Communist Party after 1948.