Cover Osteuropa 11-12/2016

In Osteuropa 11-12/2016

Visualizing Polish Victimhood
The Films “Miasto 44”, “Smoleńsk”, and “Wołyń”

Ulrich Schmid

Deutsche Fassung


In recent years, Polish cinema has been embracing historical themes with considerable regularity. Especially prominent are narratives that show a threat posed by foreign ag-gressors to the Polish nation. “Miasto 44” (2014) has as its theme the heroic struggle of the Warsaw Uprising against the German occupiers. “Smoleńsk” (2016) depicts a gloomy scenario of a Russian conspiracy against Poland’s ruling elite under President Lech Kaczyński. Finally, “Wołyń” (2016), by means of disturbing images, shows the massacres perpetrated by Ukrainian nationalists against their Polish neighbours during the Second World War. All three films put Polish suffering at the forefront and reinforce in their own way the romantic discourse of victimhood.

(Osteuropa 11-12/2016, pp. 135–148)