Filmmaker to address Polish resistance and rescue efforts

Alison Lucci

Speaker to talk about World War II

The Zegota was the only underground government effort dedicated to rescuing Jews in occupied Poland during World War II.

“This council was set up to rescue them so they were not taken to places like Auschwitz,” documentary filmmaker John Michalczyk said.

“Zegota” meant, literally, the Council to Aid Jews during the Holocaust.

“You will always find people who will risk their lives for what they believe in,” said Mary Kay Pieski, president of the Northeast Ohio chapter of the Kosciuszko Foundation.

The foundation, an American center for Polish culture, is hosting Michalczyk at 7 p.m. tonight in the Student Center Governance Chambers.

Michalczyk, chair of the fine arts department and co-director of the film studies program at Boston College, will use excerpts from a 1998 film to accompany his lecture about Polish resistance and rescue efforts during World War II.

“The Zegota represents a piece of positive outreach to the Jews that most people do not hear about when talking about the Holocaust,” Pieski said.

Michalczyk has directed more than a dozen films about conflict resolution, social justice and humanity, several of which pertain to the Holocaust and World War II.

Michalczyk said his seven-piece conflict resolution series shows “how war portrays how people come together after for better or worse.”

The series focuses on troubled spots around the world, including Northern Ireland, the Balkans, South Africa, the Middle East, Sicily and Russia.

Boston College’s film studies program is meant specifically for aspiring filmmakers interested in creating films about social justice and human rights.

Pieski, a cultural foundations doctoral student, said the Kosciuszko Foundation is hosting more programs at Kent State because the organization strives to educate Americans about Polish culture.

Last month, the foundation brought Ecuadorian pianist Jonathan Floril to perform pieces by Fryderyk Chopin, a Polish composer.

Contact International Affairs and Honors College reporter Alison Lucci at [email protected].