After watching the film footage David Kurtz captured of Nasielsk, answer these questions. You can find a printer-friendly version of the questions here (PDF).
1. Why was this film footage recorded at this time?
2. What evidence in the footage helps you understand why it was recorded?
3. Who was it recorded for?
4. Why has it survived to the present?
5. What is not in the footage that would help you to better understand it?
6. List two things this footage tells you about life in Poland at the time it was recorded.
7. Write a question to the filmmaker that is left unanswered by the footage.
8. What information do you gain from the footage about life before the Holocaust that would not be conveyed by a written source? Be specific.
9. Read the following Holocaust Encyclopedia articles. Then describe if and how your perception of the film footage has changed.
• Jewish Population of Europe in 1933: Population Data by Country
• Jewish Life in Europe before the Holocaust
• Invasion of Poland, Fall 1939
10. Watch this video on the discovery of the film footage and its importance. Afterward, explain what Glenn Kurtz means when he says, “Now that I’ve sat with Morry and have watched the film with him, when he can identify people and tell us anecdotes about their lives, it’s brought a town into memory again as a place of life, instead of just a place of death.” Why is this important?
11. If you had discovered David Kurtz’s film footage, how would you go about learning the identities of the individuals who appear in it? Learn more about researching what happened to individuals during the Holocaust.
12. Based on what you’ve learned from this lesson, explain how an ordinary object can become a significant historical artifact.
13. After viewing the archival film footage and reading about prewar Jewish life in Europe, describe what was lost in communities like Nasielsk throughout Europe during the Holocaust.