Working for the Polish Underground in Warsaw

In this video, Joseph Klinghoffer talks about his experience working for the Polish Underground while living in Warsaw with a false identity. Joseph translated BBC news broadcasts for the Underground Press.  Source: Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre, 1988



Video begins with inter-title in white text on black screen while instrumental music plays and fades into the next frame: With help from the Polish Underground, Joseph Klinghoffer and his wife fled the Ukraine in 1941 to live in Warsaw (Poland) under false Christian identities.



Cut to Holocaust survivor Joseph Klinghoffer, sitting in front of a black background, and looking to the left of the camera. The camera shows his face and shoulders as he speaks during an interview conducted in Toronto in 1988.

>> Joseph Klinghoffer: After some time, another assignment of the Polish Underground came to me.



The name “Joseph Klinghoffer” and the location of the filmed interview, “Toronto”, appear in white text above Joseph's right shoulder.

>> They knew that my minor subject matter is English. They had the Underground Press and they needed a translator of the BBC, the British Broadcasting Corporation, which was secretly taken by one of their workers. And they wanted a proper translation into Polish. And then they published it and the next day it was distributed to Polish homes. And this way, the Polish population in Warsaw was kept informed of what was going on in the world and in Germany. Now I had to assume another pseudonym:…



Cut to colour scan of an identity document. The middle page includes a black-and-white identity picture of a man with a moustache. The rest of the document is covered in stamps and contains several signatures. The photo caption appears in white text in the top-right corner, “Joseph Klinghoffer's false identification, 1943”.

>> Bogumil. Bogumil means, “Bog” is the Lord, God, and “Mil” means Favour. You can translate Bogumil as either…



Cut to Joseph Klinghoffer in front of the camera.

>> Favour by the Lord, or Light by the Lord, Protected by the Lord. You have it in the name of Mila Moloruni. Mila is her name, and this is Bogumil. Anyway, this name, with this Slavic name of Bogumil, I was the translator for the Polish Underground Press. At 6 o'clock, I was getting the English text of the BBC from my messenger, whose name I didn't know. She didn't know my name. She knew that I am Bogumil. And in two hours I had to translate it, and before 8 o'clock I had to return it at an assigned place. Because 8 o'clock was curfew in Warsaw. Nobody could go out on the street after 8 o'clock in Warsaw. And so for over a year or so, until the end, till the Polish Uprising, I was a translator.



Music plays for the remainder of the video. Three credit pages appear in white text on black screen: Interview conducted by David Aronson, Archives of the Holocaust Project, Toronto, 1988, Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre

Images: Ontario Jewish Archives, Blankenstein Family Heritage Centre

Directing: Helgi Piccinin; Editing and Colorization: Michaël Gravel, Helgi Piccinin; Audio Mix and Original Music: Pierre-Luc Lecours. [Logo for Chaire de recherche du Canada en patrimoine ethnologique]

Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre, copyright 2017.



End of transcript.

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