The author’s search for the annihilated Polish community captured in his grandfather’s 1938 home movieTraveling in Europe in August 1938, one year before the outbreak of World War II, David Kurtz, the author’s grandfather, captured three minutes of ordinary life in a small, predominantly Jewish town in Poland on 16 mm Kodachrome color film. More than seventy years later, through the brutal twists of history, these few minutes of home-movie footage would become a memorial to an entire community - an entire culture - that was annihilated in the Holocaust.Three Minutes in Poland traces Glenn Kurtz’s remarkable four-year journey to identify the people in his grandfather’s haunting images. His search takes him across the United States; to Canada, England, Poland, and Israel; to archives, film preservation laboratories, and an abandoned Luftwaffe airfield. Ultimately, Kurtz locates seven living survivors from this lost town, including an eighty-six-year-old man who appears in the film as a thirteen-year-old boy.Painstakingly assembled from interviews, photographs, documents, and artifacts, Three Minutes in Poland tells the rich, funny, harrowing, and surprisingly intertwined stories of these seven survivors and their Polish hometown. Originally a travel souvenir, David Kurtz’s home movie became the sole remaining record of a vibrant town on the brink of catastrophe. From this brief film, Glenn Kurtz creates a riveting exploration of memory, loss, and improbable survival - a monument to a lost world.
©2014 Glenn Kurtz (P)2014 Audible Inc.
Glenn Kurtz has written something that transcends categories. It is a detective story; with the picture of a community and its mysteries coming into focus after fascinating and laborious research. It is an intimate kind of history told through ordinary people surviving extraordinary times. It is also a meditation on memory and loss. In this way it transcends its subject matter and serves as an open door for us to examine our own lives and communities; what is forgotten and what we choose to preserve against the endless march of time.
The reader has also done an extraordinary job with the nuanced dialects of the characters portrayed. In every aspect I love this book.
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An amazing, absorbing story. I couldn't get enough of it. When I finally reached the end I was both relieved and heart-broken. Relieved , because of so much pointless suffering and destruction. Heart-broken because Glenn Kurtz has made such a concerted effort to try to knit together the few broken shards of a community, in such a patient, methodical, persistent way.
And an extra big "Thank you" to PJ Ochlan for bringing the printed word to life in such an unexpected and perfect way.
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