Magazine article Moment

A Rare Glimpse of a Lost World

Magazine article Moment

A Rare Glimpse of a Lost World

Article excerpt

Ateenager with a big smile grins at the camera. Another waves his hand and keeps moving to stay in the picture. A bearded man is helped down the stairs of a building as groups of young and old crowd the streets of a small town, all anxious to be a part of this remarkable movie.

These are scenes from Three Minutes in Poland, excerpts from amateur movies taken in August 1938 in Nasielsk, a small city about 35 miles north of Warsaw, by David Kurtz, a local boy who made good in America and was returning on a side trip as part of a six-week grand tour of Europe, bringing with him his new 16-millimeter movie camera. Seventy years later, his grandson Glenn discovered the film and set out to uncover the story of these Polish Jews, content in their hometown and unaware of the future that lay ahead.

For Glenn Kurtz the journey began in 2009 when a young woman in Detroit saw the three-minute film, which he had posted online, and recognized her grandfather as the smiling teenager. Fortunately he was still alive, and Kurtz traveled to Boca Raton, Florida to meet him. Born Moszek Tuchendler in Nasielsk, he was now Maurice Chandler. In response to Kurtz's gentle but probing questions, he was able to identify many of his childhood friends and neighbors. Most important, he knew of other survivors, leading Kurtz to California, London, Canada and Tel Aviv. In each place, Kurtz found more names to connect to the faces in the film. …

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