During World War II, when hundreds of thousands of Jews were confined to a 3.5 square mile section of Warsaw, Poland, and made to live like animals, the Nazis decided to produce a propaganda film about the ghetto. Downtrodden, persecuted Jews were recruited to be the actors and ordered to dress up, pretend they were dining in fine restaurants, living in luxurious apartments and buying meat to feed their families. In reality, two, three and four families were living in one apartment, the plumbing was broken and most Jews were starving to death.
The raw film, discovered after the war in an East German archive, became the centerpiece of a horrifying 2010 documentary, called A Film Unfinished. The 90-minute movie is riveting, start to finish. In it, we meet two FOF women who lived through the ghetto. One of them, a young teen in 1942, remembers stumbling on the street and falling on top of a corpse, one of thousands laying on the streets. “When I looked into the eyes of the dead man, it was as if I was staring into the eyes of all the dead people I had avoided until then,” she recalled.
“We had became indifferent to the suffering of others,” she explained.
“I cried and cried to my mother when I returned home. She gave me a slice of bread and jam. It was a slice of comfort.”