Footage of everyday life was shot by a Chicago pediatrician touring Europe in 1939.
Children and adults wave and smile, obviously fascinated by the movie camera. A group of three older religious men hide their faces. People go about their business in the Jewish quarter of Warsaw only weeks before the Nazi invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939.
Two months later 400,000 Jews would be rounded up and imprisoned in the Warsaw Ghetto, and later deported to Nazi camps where an estimated 300,000 of these were killed by bullet and gas. And additional 92,000 died of hunger and were victims of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
This color film was taken by Chicago-based pediatrican, Dr. Benjamin Gasul, who was raised in Latvia, and returned to Europe in 1939 to reconnect with his Jewish heritage. More film from Dr. Gasul’s trip to Europe can be seen online at the Steven Spielberg Film and Video Archive of the United States Holocaust Museum.
Since you are here…
…we’d like to have one more word with you. We are excited to report that Aleteia’s readership is growing at a rapid rate, world-wide! Our team proves its mission every day by providing high-quality content that informs and inspires a Christian life. But quality journalism has a cost and it’s more than ads can cover. We want our articles to be accessible to everyone, free of charge, but we need your help. To continue our efforts to nourish and inspire our Catholic family, your support is invaluable. Become an Aleteia Patron today for as little as $3 a month. May we count on you?