Reflections On “Never Forget To Lie”

Since the FRONTLINE premiere of Never Forget To Lie, filmmaker Marian Marzynski has been flooded with letters from viewers — some of whom are Holocaust survivors themselves — looking to share their thoughts and reflections on the film. For many viewers, the film evoked strong emotions about family, faith, survival and love. Below is a sampling of some of those responses:

Dear Mr. Marzyński,

I just finished watching your documentary Never Forget To Lie on PBS, and I simply had to write to you. I hope you do not mind too much. I am Polish, I was born in Krakow many years after the war, and my parents and I came to Canada when I was 12. I am now married and have two children.

Your documentary moved me to my core. For a long time I have been struggling with my country’s history and legacy. I remember as a girl I fantasized — to the point of convincing myself — that my grandparents, who had a bakery in a medium-sized town in southern Poland, had sheltered Jews during the war. They had not. There had been a large Jewish population living in the town before the war, and it was not until I was a teenager that I found out that the cinema house that we frequented during our summer vacations had once been a synagogue. There are still hints of past Jewish life all over the place — and with them uncomfortable silences, hushed conversations, changed topics. People must — and have — moved on with their lives. But how can you, knowing what you know — and remembering all that you do? In the movie you’re asked whether you love Poland. I think if I were in your shoes I would hate it.

I guess what I wanted to say to you is that I’m glad that you survived. And to thank you for us telling this story.

Dziękuję i pozdrawiam.

– Marta

Great job, Marian!

Thanks so much for making this important documentary of the children of the Holocaust. I was born on May 9, 1940. If I had come into the world in Europe rather than the U.S., I might have been one of those children. One of the highlights of the film for me was when you went back to Poland many years ago and the old Polish lady asked you if you still loved Poland. Your answer was right on! Thanks for telling your story and that of other children who grew up during those terrible years.

-Fred

Marian:

I feel as though anything I would say about the experience of watching your film last night would fall far short of the emotions that I felt. Words such as powerful, heart-rending, masterful presentation and film structure are true but do not do the subject nor the film justice. I couldn’t help but transpose not myself, but my daughter and grandaughter (who is 5 years of age), into that horrific series of events that you and the others suffered. My tears are trite considering what experiences you related, but are genuine nonetheless.

Thank you.

– Ed

Marian,

I hope your phone, twitter, fax are all busy. Very impressive how you showed the raw emotion and honesty of yourself and others in the original settings. Mama and I went back to Poland, and many survivors chose as functional mechanism to shut off this horrible chapter. Here are some of my thoughts, When they went back, it may have been the first time they allowed themselves to fully feel and let go. On our trip, some could not visit all of the sites, or only one for understandable reasons. It helps that Poland is also changed economically and socially in ways you probably never dared to imagine.

– Anya

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