Category: filmmaker

Agnieszka Arnold, Documentary Filmmaker - Part Two

Posted August 18, 2011 - 9:26am

I ask her what she thought about the relationship between the Jews and Poles in Jedwabne before the war. Agnieszka considers it a big problem that in Jedwabne Poles and Jews lived next to each other without too much contact. ‘The first question I always ask in my interviews is if they had ever visited the house of a Jew. The answer is always the same: no, never. And when you don’t know your neighbor,’ Agnieszka continues, ‘when they are only the Other, a small gossip can grow into something horrendously huge because people don’t know the reality of their neighbors' lives.’

But Agnieszka admits that the reasons for the lack of relationships between Poles and Jews are complicated. She suggests that eating food together is a basic socializing act. ‘Just imagine:  a Jewish girl is visiting the house of her Polish classmate. She is offered a cup of tea, but she can’t have it because it’s not kosher. Can she have a cookie? No, she can’t. She can’t eat anything at her classmate’s house. The next time she is not offered anything and perhaps later she may not be even invited to visit.’ Agnieszka tells me that two years ago her best friend converted to Orthodox Judaism.  She is supposedly very dear and close to Agnieszka. But now they can’t have a meal together because her friend can eat only kosher food. They still love each other very much but they don’t see each other as often as they used to in the past.

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