Research Programs: Fellowships for University Teachers

Period of Performance

1/1/2016 - 8/31/2016

Funding Totals

$33,600.00 (approved)
$33,600.00 (awarded)

Hidden in Plain View: The Music of Holocaust Survival in Poland's First Postwar Feature Film

FAIN: FA-232505-16

Barbara Milewski, PhD
Swarthmore College (Swarthmore, PA 19081-1390)

Preparation of the first authoritative English translation and article-length study of Forbidden Songs (screenplay by Holocaust survivor Ludwik Starski), the first feature film released in Poland after World War II.

My scholarship illuminates a hidden story of Jewish survival during the Holocaust embedded in the first feature film released in Poland after WWII. Forbidden Songs, a light musical comedy based on satirical street songs that were banned by the Nazis, is replayed annually in Poland as a commemorative symbol of national resilience. Yet within the larger context of this work that celebrates the abiding pluck and wit of Poles lies a subtler message, told through the music, about the experience of the screenwriter, Ludwik Starski, a Polish Jew who survived in hiding during the War. Relying on archival sources and interviews with those who knew the film’s creator, I will produce the first comprehensive analysis of the film's music. In addition to publishing my research, I will create the first authoritative English translation of the film and its songs, ensuring that both researchers and the general public outside of Poland have access to a significant treasure of heritage cinema.

Media Coverage

(Media Coverage)
Author(s): Barbara Milewski
Date: 9/28/2016
Abstract: Coverage of Grant Award