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Streaming January 14-26, 2022 Digital Screening Room

Poland | 57 minutes | 2021

They Had Names

Southeast US Premiere

This powerful documentary retraces the fate of 700 Polish Jews in Niepołomice, Poland, during the German occupation in the Second World War. It asks the questions: Who helped them and who betrayed them, condemning them to death? On September 1, 1939, at dawn, the drone of aircraft engines woke the inhabitants of Niepołomice. At the time, many thought it was just an aerial exercise and didn’t give it any further thought. Little did the townspeople know that the Germans were approaching, eventually entering the city itself on the morning of September 8. During the chaotic first days of German occupation, there were numerous break-ins of Jewish homes and shops as their property was stolen. Worse, most of what transpired was carried out by their own neighbors and local townspeople. They Had Names reveals that there were also individual Poles, driven by humanitarian reasons, who tried to ease the grievous predicament of their Jewish neighbors and help them escape. After the war, Yad Vashem honored these 61 Poles with the Righteous Among the Nations designation for their efforts in saving Jewish lives. This film also tries to answer the question: What motivated them to risk their own and their families’ lives to offer Jews shelter and places to hide?

Director's Bio

Directed by Wojciech Szumowski

Director Photo
Wojciech Szumowski has worked in the Polish film industry as a director, documentary filmmaker, and producer for 30 years. He currently serves as the head of Studio Szumowski.

Cast and Credits


Wojciech Szumowski


Wojciech Szumowski


Wojciech Szumowski, Marcin Stanislawski


Wojciech Szumowski


Jan Machnicki, Barbara Bista-Wagner, Janusz Jagla

Film Info






57 minutes


Polish with English subtitles
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