“Tales from the Land of
Ovens…” – an ordinary title and an extraordinary story. These tales
were secretly written by 30 prisoners of Auschwitz Concentration Camp.
For their own children. They also illustrated them beautifully. These
tales are the subject of the film.
The concentration camp was so full of evil that one could start
doubting the existence of good. But it survived, if only in seemingly
trivial booklets about little chicks and flowers. There were about
thirty daring men who wrote and illustrated them in the proximity of
crematorium chimneys. One of them was ordered by the Nazis to
segregate the belongings of the people killed in the gas chamber. He
found a fairy tale left by a child, who was gassed with others. That
was when they decided to create tales for their children. These tales
kept them alive.
“I don’t know if this tale will ever reach your little hands, and yet
I’ve decided to paint these pictures for you, my dearest fair-haired
Zbyś,” Henryk Czulda wrote to his two-year-old son Zbyszek. He decided
not to let himself get killed since he had to hand this tale to his
son. The story about two little chicks travelling to the mill
accompanied him at Auschwitz and five other camps.
“This tale kept him alive. He wanted to deliver it personally. There
was no other way to do it,” Zbigniew Czulda says, years later. His
younger brother Andrzej, who is a film director, and who wasn’t even
born then, has decided to direct one of these adventures.
“You have to love very much to risk and sacrifice yourself. You could
expect death penalty for such actions, the paper, paint and time were
stolen from the German Reich,” says Andrzej Czulda.
“These tales let me know that my father was alive and thinking about
us. And that he surely loved us a lot,” recollects Andrzej Bęć,
the son of another author. “It was like bread, sometimes even more
important,” adds August Kowalczyk, a prisoner of Auschwitz
Concentration Camp, who also read his father’s tales.
Felicjan Świerczyna, who was born after his father had been arrested,
knows his father only from family stories and the little book of
tales. “ He couldn’t hold me in his arms, he could never tell me
‘son…I love you’,” he says with emotion. His father managed to send
this tale to his young son hidden in a German dictionary, delivered by
an SS-man. Bernard Świerczyna never returned home. He was hanged. It
was the last execution to be carried out in the camp.
/ Renata Kijowska, Justyna Pochanke – TVN Facts /
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
ROBERT BUCZKOWSKI – MR Studio
FIRST ASSISTANT OPERATOR
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER DISCOVERY HISTORIA
WANDA KONDZIOŁEK – NOSAL
ALEKSANDER RACZYŃSKI - Boy
GRZEGORZ STELMASIAK - Father
narrator I - MARIUSZ SIUDZIŃSKI
narrator II – PIOTR DOBRZYŃSKI
narrator III – PAWEŁ SIEDLIK
narrator IV – ZENON WEIGT
EDUCATIONAL FILM STUDIO IN LODZ
DISCOVERY HISTORIA TVN
JOINTLY FINANCED BY
POLISH FILM INSTITUTE
AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU NATIONALMUSEUM IN OSWIECIM
© 2008 42’
version: Polish, English