Inspiration

The inspiration to create a documentary on this subject came from Executive Producer
Harley Lippman, who is a member of the US Commission for the Preservation of America's
Heritage Abroad. An independent agency of the Government of the US, the Commission
was established, inter alia, to identify endangered properties like cemeteries and monu-
ments in Eastern and Central Europe that are associated with the heritage of U.S. citizens
and to play a role in helping to preserve them. A specific focus of the Commission is the
annihilation of the European Jewish culture - ancestors of many of today's American Jews
— wrought by the Holocaust and almost a half-century of communism that followed.

In fulfillment of its mission, the Commission has often been involved in restoration,
preservation and monument projects in locations where the endangered properties at issue
once stood. When Harley heard some of the stories of Polish witnesses revealing the sites
of mass murders, he agreed that monuments needed to be placed, both to give a sense of
dignity to the unknown innocent victims buried there and to serve as a reminder of
“Never Again” to future generations.

But Harley also understood that monuments standing in countryside fields that few people
will ever visit are not enough to educate large members of the public about the atrocities
that had occurred. With a grandmother who was from Poland and 86 family members from
the Warsaw region who were killed in the Holocaust, Harley wanted the difficult lessons
of the one-to-one, eye-to-eye mass murders that occurred in the Lublin and Galicia regions
of Poland to reach a wide audience. With this goal in mind, the inspiration to create a
documentary was born.

The initial motivation to put up monuments in these sites of mass murder came from
Polish citizen Zbigniew Nizinski. Born on the heels of World War II, Zbigniew is an
Evangelical Christian businessman who has studied the Bible. He has been for many years
fascinated by the shared history and relationships of Jews and Poles; he has also been
deeply disturbed by the cruel violence that wiped out three million Polish Jews, three
million Jews from other countries, and three million Polish non-Jews, the majority of whom perished on Polish soil during the war. In pursuit of learning more about these events, Zbigniew has for many years spent his free time riding his bicycle in the Lublin district of Poland — sadly, the region of countless mass murders. He asks villagers he meets as he traverses through their towns to share their memories and bring him to the locations that are the subjects of their recollections. Often they feel they are sharing heavy secrets they have kept locked inside for all these decades. Many people are relieved to pass on the information, hopeful that it will generate interest in erecting monuments that will somehow restore dignity to thedeceased and peace of mind to them — the witnesses.

With this goal in mind, several years ago Zbigniew formed a Polish nonprofit entity
called the Everlasting Memory Foundation. Working with Poland's Chief Rabbi Michael
Schudrich, they teamed up with Harley to help ensure the preservation of sites of mass
execution and burial during the Holocaust through the dedication of monuments.