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In 1944, twenty-three year-old Jadwiga (known affectionately to her family as 'Wisia') had been living in her native Poland under the yoke of German-occupation for almost five years. Unbeknownst to the invaders, an underground force was mobilizing with the aim of reclaiming at least part of its homeland. The 'Armia Krajowa' ('Home Army') operated in secret, received its orders from the exiled Polish government and employed the skills of many young people like Wisia to aid them in the uprising.
A select group of youth, including Wisia and her brother, had been secretly selected and trained in running messages and administering medical aid. This group of young civilians supported and sometimes even fought alongside the Armia Krajowa. Their jobs were extremely dangerous but they carried out their missions with remarkable bravery. Our documentary will explore not only the historical details of Wisia's experience but just as importantly, the composition of her courage, to be able to survive - and ultimately escape - when so many were imprisoned or perished at the hands of these violent intruders.
On the 1st of August 1944, led by the Armia Krajowa, the proud people of Poland united in an attempt to repel the invaders from the city of Warsaw. Through a series of operations and concerted attacks, the civilian-supported Armia Krajowa devastated the German occupiers in the short-term and formed the backbone of what history remembers as The Warsaw Uprising. The uprising's subsequent failure, eventual slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Polish soldiers and citizens and Hitler's vindictive destruction of 90% of the city, does nothing to bury the bravery of all who fought during this period for the basic privilege of a peaceful life.
Countless other stories of bravery by soldiers and civilians alike also remain untold, but the selfless actions of one particular twenty-three year-old woman remain a timeless demonstration of heroism in the face of tremendous adversity. This young woman, Wisia, is now a great-grandmother approaching her 90th birthday with a spring in her step and glint in her eye. She is our grandmother and we can no longer allow her sacrifices to remain simply a page on an historical website. For decades her full story has remained untold, but with your backing we will travel back in time with Wisia. She will acquaint us with the locations, walk us through salient events and introduce us to the survivors of such an unforgettable time in her life, in Warsaw, Poland.
Unlike the stories of many who suffered and endured the horrors of war, Wisia's refusal to bow down and her active contribution to Warsaw's resistance, elevate her heroism in our eyes. Her tale will also reveal surprising elements, such as mid-war romantic advances, a curiously benevolent Nazi guard, and the presence of a protecting force in the form of the Virgin Mary.
History is forgotten when it is no longer personal. We want the world to share the personal story of Wisia, nursing wounded soldiers in a building with full knowledge that it will soon be bombed; carrying soldiers across hostile city streets into churches that were destroyed with them inside. Digging free and seeking refuge in a hospital, only to find Nazis raising the Swastika flag and rounding up the wounded for labor camps or immediate execution.
Remarkably, this special young woman survived. Saving as many lives as she could along the way. Awarded medals for her contributions, Wisia still eschews heroic labels. Our twenty-three year-old heroine will finally have a chance to share her experiences with the world. She is Babcia Wisia, she is our grandmother, and this is her story.
- (59 days)