It’s been 70 years since Europe’s last pogrom. Kielce is beginning to face its past. “Bogdan’s Journey” is the reason why.


Poland’s Kielce was the site of Europe’s last Jewish pogrom – only a year after World War II ended. In 1946, the city’s militia, soldiers and ordinary townspeople killed more than forty Holocaust survivors seeking shelter in a downtown building and injured eighty more around the city. As news of the pogrom spread across Poland, Jews fled the country. The Kielce pogrom became a symbol of Polish post-war anti-Semitism in the Jewish world. Under communism, the pogrom was a forbidden subject in Poland, but the event was never forgotten.

Sixty years later, Bogdan Białek, a Catholic Pole, psychologist, and journalist, began to talk publicly about the darkest moment of the city’s past, persuading the people of Kielce to confront its terrible history. He began alone, but attracted others as he went along. Together, they cut through the miasma of repression and denial in the city’s competing narratives, unveiling his fellow citizens’ deepest prejudices. He worked to reconnect Kielce with the outside Jewish community. Bogdan’s Journey tells his story, and took almost a decade to film.

Bogdan’s Journey tells a unique story about one man and how he redeems seventy years of bitter, contested memories – by telling the truth with love. This film contains subtitles.

Białek will attend the Santa Clara University screening on November 19, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the St. Clare Room in the library. Afterwards, there will be an onstage conversation with Bialek and the co-directors of the film, Michal Jaskulski of Warsaw, and Lawrence Loewinger of New York.

In 1946, Kielce’s city’s militia, soldiers and ordinary townspeople killed more than 40 Holocaust survivors seeking shelter. It never recovered. Can one man heal a community? The film will screen next Tuesday, 7 p.m., at Santa Clara University. Bogdan will be there. (Trailer included.)

Postscript: And thanks, as always, to George Jansen for his vigilant eyes.

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2 Responses to “It’s been 70 years since Europe’s last pogrom. Kielce is beginning to face its past. “Bogdan’s Journey” is the reason why.”

  1. Pawel Biel Says:

    Awful Historical Revisionism by the Filmmakers/Stamford University. It is very disappointing that in the age of free Poland, it’s history is manipulated and falsified by historical revisionism packaged to present Poland in negative light. It is also disappointing Stamford provides manipulative history to its faculty/students.

    The L shaped building on Planty 7 had 2 parts with two entrances. Left side was occupied by the communist Jews (communist party members, UB members, communist civic workers – they where all Jewish) the right side of the building was occupied by Religious Jews and Syjonists. The Syjonists under doctor Kahane waited their turn to leave for Palestine. Doctor Kahane organized the immigration groups.

    I’m not going to discuss everything in detail but in short can anyone explain why only the right side of the building was attacked by the Police?
    Spontaneous Pogroms don’t choose political sides, they don’t pick between communists, religious jews or syjonists – they are spontaneous with out political choosing ie every Jew in the vicinity gets attacked.

    Bit this is not what happened at Kielce. The script with the boy repeats it self from previous attempts in Radom and Krakow. The leader of the Non Communist Jewish Group ends up executed by a single shot before he reports all phone lines have been cut. Meanwhile – the communist Jews survive with out one scratch? Sounds like a provocation. Who could benefit on Provoking the murders? Who could benefit on showing the world the ”antisemitic Poland”? This at the time of major American Holliday (July 4th) Polish Katyn Massacre at the Nurnberg trails and all Major Western Media outlets in Warsaw to cover first ”free” election in the post war Poland. Who could benefit?

    Who could benefit is the Soviets? There are number of surprising factors taking place right before the murders including high ranking Smiersz and NKWD agents making surprise visits to Kielce right before July 4th.

    When you examine the ranks of the UB, Police and Army forces, you realize that many of the senior staff members were actually Jewish (Second in Command)

    Why didn’t they try to stop it? Why did the Police, ABW, KBW, LWP surround the area? But let the communist Jews free???

    Stanford should do much better for their students – it should provide honest historical platform on which many narratives are discussed. Was it a pogrom – was it a provocation? Who benefited on the Provocation?

    Please stop brainwashing your students.

  2. Adam Says:

    Don’t be naive. Ask questions and look for answers even on the Internet: what was the “Polish” city militia, what were the “Polish” soldiers and what were the “ordinary inhabitants”…