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Journey to Poland

Documentary Landscapes of the Holocaust

Maurizio Cinquegrani

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Provides a new topographical methodology for the study of cinema and the Holocaust

Journey to Poland addresses crucial issues of memory and history in relation to the Holocaust as it unfolded in the territories of the Second Polish Republic. Aiming to understand the ways past events inform present-day landscapes, and the way in which we engage with memory, witnessing and representation, the book creates a coherent cinematic map of this landscape through the study of previously neglected film and TV documentaries that focus on survivors and bystanders, as well as on members of the post-war generation. Applying a spatial and geographical approach to a debate previously organised around other frameworks of analysis, Journey to Poland uncovers vital new perspectives on the Holocaust.

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Prologue - Space, Time, and the Holocaust

Chapter One - Countryside, shtetl, city: the murders of Mazovia, Jedwabne, and Kielce

Chapter Two - Conflicting memories in the shtetlekh Gąbin, Suchowola, Brańsk, and Luboml

Chapter Three - The marketplaces of postmemory in the shtetlekh Eishyshok, Delatyn, Opatów, Zdunska Wola, Urzejowice, and Pińczów

Chapter Four - A tale of two cities: Warsaw and Kraków

Chapter Five - Another tale of two cities: Lviv and Łódź

Chapter Six - A tale of two cities of death: Treblinka and Oświęcim

Epilogue - new routes





About the Author

Maurizio Cinquegrani is a Senior Lecturer in Film at the University of Kent. His first book, Of Empire and the City: Remapping Early British Cinema, was published by Peter Lang in 2014. Journey to Poland is his second monograph and it follows a number of articles and book chapters on the subject of film and the Holocaust.


Maurizio Cinquegrani’s book is a highly illuminating and entirely engrossing account of little-known documentary films about the aftermath of the Holocaust in Poland. He provides excellent close readings of his chosen films, and explores them in relation to what he aptly calls the ‘cinematic topography’ of genocidal events. Cinquegrani analyses the market-places, attics and courtyards which appear as emblems of pre-war life, and as the sites of wartime atrocities, for survivors returning to the villages and cities of their birth, as well as the filmed terrain of the extermination camps of Treblinka and Auschwitz-Birkenau. By this means, Cinquegrani’s outstanding book reveals the persistence of the past in the present through his arguing for the profoundly geographical nature of Holocaust memory.

- Professor Sue Vice, University of Sheffield

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