Continuing with Leo Kantor’s film about the exodus of Breslau Jews


goEast: 15th Festival of Central and European Film, from Friday 24th to Wednesday 29th April in Wiesbaden, Part 7

Claudia Schulmerich

Frankfurt am Main (Weltexpresso)
– At the core of the film, however, are the incredible events of 1968. At a time when student protests were taking place even in communist Poland, and the regime as a whole was in trouble, the Communist Party under the leadership of its chairman Gomułka set about blaming this dreadful situation on the Jews, who as a sort of fifth column of the hostile West were undermining Poland – the good and just country.

It was simply a further instance of perfidious anti-Semitism. The fact that the Polish Jews were also made the scapegoats for the Six-Day War and the June 1967 victory of the Israelis, and that anyone who welcomed this victory was declared an enemy of the state and was then referred to as a Zionist, further aggravated the situation.

It’s a pity that the film wasn’t longer and that we were unable to share the experiences of some of the Jews forced to leave. And so we just know that they were disseminated all over the world, that most of them were very successful (but what about the others?), that they were banned from entering Poland for 20 years, and were not even allowed to visit the graves of their fathers and mothers, whom they had left behind.

The least one can do is to keep the memory of events alive, as this film by Leo Kantor (see photo above) is doing. So the film should be screened everywhere, especially in Poland. Because there, according to contributions during the subsequent discussion, anti-Semitic politics is very much alive, unlike in the West, and came to a head in March 1968. That being the case, it is surprising that the grieving on the part of the Poles has not given rise to more information – it not having led to more novels, textbooks or plays, nor to any films, apart from Ida.

Because one should in fact expect of modern Poland a filmic processing of the shameful story of the displacement of their Jews in 1968, and should not impose this expectation on those who were thrown out of their country, their home and where they belong. But we are all the more pleased that in In Search of the Lost Landscape the displaced Leo Kantor creates a memorial to the landscape and the homeland, and describes the enforced exodus.

Oh yes, and the film begins with redcurrants bushes (or Ribiseln as we say in Austria), which grow in Sweden – and which the grandson does not like – just like at home in Poland, and which we then see in the image. Redcurrants: an allegory, a metaphor? Firstly for blood, and secondly for constant regrowth. Because every winter they lose their leaves – they even need the frost – and they then come out again and bear these sweetandsour fruits in umbels.


In Search of the Lost Landscape
Documentary film – 40 minutes
Director: Leo Kantor
Camera: Jacek Knopp, Arthur Lukaszewicz
Editing: Grzegorz Mazur
Music: Przemysław Książek
Producer: Andrzej Stachecki V-Film & Kulturforum, Sweden