1: Video excerpts, Yitzhak Goskin’s “A Day in Warsaw,” 1938.
Auerbach’s essay is a lament for those who were lost and the culture that was lost as a result of the Warsaw Jewish community being sent to the ghetto and then deported. This film produced by Yitzhak Goskin in 1938 captures everyday life in Jewish Warsaw on the eve of the Holocaust. The film gives viewers today a sense of the life that was lost just a few years later.
Suggested Activity: Before watching the two film excerpts, have students write a description of what they imagine Warsaw looked like in 1938 before the Nazis invaded Poland. How would they describe the differences between Jewish and Polish neighborhoods? What would they expect to see in the streets of Jewish Warsaw—for example, how would people dress, what would they be doing professionally, and how would they be interacting?
After students watch the film clips, have them write a short paragraph comparing what they saw in the film with the assumptions and expectations they wrote about above. How does the film align with or differ from Auerbach’s description of Jewish Warsaw?
Source: A Day in Warsaw, prod. by Yitzhak Goskin. Poland, 1938. Used with permission from the National Center for Jewish Film, Brandeis University.