David Kurtz Collection
August 4, 1938
US Holocaust Memorial Museum
In the Jewish quarter, a tracking LS follows a boy with a cocked hat who makes an effort to stay on camera. Dark silhouetted interior (of a restaurant, probably Owsianka), faces cannot be deciphered. Bright exterior CU of group of children in the street. Excited to be on camera, they wave and move together as the camera rotates. 01:03:06 Fourteen year old Maurice Chandler [nee Moszek Tuchendler] wearing a dark cap. Sign indicating "Spozywczy", a grocery storefront. Several shots of crowded streets. Many exit the synagogue together, walking down the set of stairs.
Some people have been identified, including: Czarna Mirla at 01:02:54, Jankl Piekarek [or Wilczynski] at 01:02:59, Moszek Tuchendler at 01:03:06, Czarna and Miriam Mirla at 01:03:14, Yitzhak Borts, Simcha Rotstein at 01:03:23, Shmuel Tyk at 01:03:42, and Avrum Kubel at 01:03:43.
Only approximately 80 of the 3,000 Jews living in Nasielsk in 1939 survived the war.
See color footage of the same Jewish quarter in RG-60.4831
Read the 2014 book "Three Minutes in Poland" about this extraordinary home movie. Watch a special video the Museum produced after Maurice Chandler's granddaughter identified him in this film footage at http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=V9PzAlbvA08
Biography / History:
David and Lena (Liza) Kurtz travelled to Europe from New York in 1938. Both were born in Poland and emigrated to the U.S. in the 1890s. David founded the American Blouse Company in the 1920s, later named the David Kurtz Shirt Company. The couple had three children. While abroad in 1938, David took 16mm film of the trip, including color street scenes of a Jewish quarter in Nasielsk, Poland (David and Louis's hometown). The trip was made with three friends, Louis and Lillian Malina, and Louis's sister, Essie Malina Diamond, who appear frequently on camera. David died in 1958; Liza lived to the age of 96.
Maurice Chandler was born Moszek Tuchendler in 1924 in Nasielsk, Poland. The middle of three sons of Chawa and Szaja Tuchendler, he was the grandson of Srul Skalka, a prominent merchant in the town. His education at Cheder and at a Jewish trade school in Warsaw was interrupted in 1939 by the German invasion of Poland. After first fleeing to the Soviet-occupied territories, he returned to Warsaw in late 1939 and remained in the Ghetto with his family until he escaped in the spring of 1941. He survived the war posing as an orphaned farmhand, using false papers provided by Helena Jagodzinska, the Polish owner of a farm where he had worked. The sole survivor of his family, Mr. Chandler came to the United States on a student visa in 1947. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and afterward settled in Detroit, Michigan, where he became a successful businessman. The father of four children and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Mr. Chandler is the subject of the 2014 book, Three Minutes in Poland (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), which describes his chance appearance in a 1938 home movie and the story of his wartime survival.
2009.31.1 Glenn Kurtz, the grandson of cameraman David Kurtz, donated his family's original 16mm film to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in May 2009. The films were stored in a cardboard box in the closet of Mr. Kurtz's parents in Florida until spring 2009.
16mm b/w pos
16mm; Uncompressed QT; DigiBeta; ProRes 422; Betacam SP; DVD; H264
01:02:31 - 01:03:49
US Holocaust Memorial Museum, gift of Glenn Kurtz