Kary, Sheila, Sandy, Michael, my beloved husband and my family. I have been in a place for six incredible years where winning meant a crust of bread and to live another day. Since the blessed day of my liberation I have asked the question, why am I here? I am no better. In my mind’s eye I see those years and days and those who never lived to see the magic of a boring evening at home. On their behalf I wish to thank you for honoring their memory, and you cannot do it in any better way than when you return to your homes tonight to realize that each of you who know the joy of freedom.
– Gerda Weissmann Klein
Poland has again been overrun by two of the great powers which held her in bondage for a 150 years, but were unable to quench the spirit of the Polish nation. The heroic defense of Warsaw shows that the soul of Poland is indestructible, and that she will rise again like a rock, which may for a spell be submerged by a tidal wave, but which remains a rock.
– Winston Churchill
Poland is a country with a very brutal past, even so recent at just 70 years ago. The holocaust is something I have thought about often as a child, especially as a 3-year-old with a vivid imagination and my father sitting me in front of the television to watch Pink Floyd’s ‚The Wall’ film. I have always wanted to visit the German Nazi concentration camps and let the seriousness and power of it envelop me, humble me, and change me. It was one of the most chilling moments of my life, also because of how peaceful and beautiful the camps were. Spring flowers blooming bright and birds playfully jumping over the brick rubble. The calm breeze definitely added to its eeriness.
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.
I chose to not only observe present-day Auschwitz, but also present-day Poland, document both, and show them as I felt them…knowing the strength of these people who looked forward and fought tooth and nail so the new generations could live these beautiful lives today inspires me so much. This is my tribute to Poland, its people, and the ones who perished in World War II.
The title ‚Bipoland’ is meant to describe the two feelings of the past and present while I was there. On one hand, there is a heaviness that still lingers from WWII, but on the other hand things are as bright and exciting as any other flourishing country.
– Matthew Brown