Requiem for 500,000 (1963)


Polish documentary about the creation and the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto 1939-43.

It is a memorial to the half million people who died in the Warsaw ghetto.


The film is made in memory of the Polish Jews and underground fighters murdered by the Nazis.

It begins in September 1939 and shows the victorious Nazi troops in Poland including Governor General Hans Frank at Cracow, SS troops stopping Poles in the street, etc. There are shots from the creation of the Jewish state-within-a-state in the Warsaw Ghetto and the transportation of the Jews into the Ghetto.

The rest of the film is shot inside the Ghetto, mostly in the streets and shows the gradual starvation of the populace, the trading and bartering, street beggars and eventually the dead lying on the pavements.

There are then sequences of the Jewish population being rounded up and transported off by lorry and train for ‘resettlement’ as they believed.

Finally there are a set of photographs from the Uprising of 18 April to 16 May 1943 ending in the total destruction of the Ghetto.

Production & Filming Details

  • Director: Jerzy Bossak and Waclaw Kazimierczak.
  • Production: Film Polski, Warsaw Documentary Films Studio (Production company), Bossak, Jerzy (Production individual), and Kazmierczak, Waclaw (Production individual).
  • Release Date: 1963 (Poland).
  • Running Time: 23 minutes.
  • Country: Poland.
  • Language: English.

YouTube Link

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