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17 April 1996 (USA)  »

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An interesting meditation on the Holocaust, and contemporary attitudes in Poland and beyond.
10 November 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

(Please ignore the previous comment. Its hard to know how that reviewer knows that the depiction in this documentary is false.)

In "Shtetl", Marzynski, himself a Polish-born survivor of the Holocaust, goes along with a friend to visit the Shtetl where the friend's parents were born. The friend had contacted a young Polish official (the town historian) who had taken an interest in the town's Jewish past. Marzynski comes along as translator and documentor of the visit.

Although Marzynski's friend's parents moved to the US long before WWII, the Nazi occupation becomes part of the story when Marzynski and friend visit the town. Its very interesting to listen to the interviews with older town-residents who remember the era. But even more interesting is the relationship between Marzynski and the young town historian who was their initial contact.

Although Marzynski's friend dies, Marzynski and the town historian maintain their relationship, and eventually travel together to Israel and to the US. This relationship, and the reactions that they get from former town residents now living in the US and from Israelis, is fascinating. And, the way this effects the town historian as he rises in town politics gives the film its dramatic highlight.

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