March 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the Polish student revolt, which was the start of the persecution of Jews in communist Poland. The persecutions resulted in massive Jewish emigration from Poland. About 13,000 Polish Jews left the country in the years 1968-72 as political refugees. This Jewish Exodus from Poland is known as March-emigration.
The project "Man Overboard – Jews from Lodz 50 years after March" seeks to shed light on the fate of the Polish Jews from the city of Lodz, who left Poland in this period. The name Lodz or Łódź (as it is spelled in Polish) means boat and the title “Man Overboard” symbolically refers to Lodz Jews' struggle for survival in alien environments “without a life jacket”.
The project includes over 60 persons from all walks of life who nearly 50 years ago settled and made a living in Denmark, Sweden, Israel, USA and other countries. In filmed interviews, the Lodz Jews share with us their lives and their experience as refugees. They tell us about their struggle for survival, about their successes, their joys and worries, about what they have gained, and perhaps what they have lost. Through the interviews, they show us the fabric they are made of - how they integrated and realized themselves in foreign societies, what challenges they had to face, what difficulties they had to overcome, what they had achieved, what personal costs they had to bear as refugees.
Similar questions we asked Lodz Jews, who decided to stay in Lodz in spite of the persistent anti-Jewish smear campaign. They reveal to us what life in Lodz looked like for them, what were the problems they had to cope with and how they look at their decision and its consequences from a 50-year-long perspective.