Radegast is a little railway station which was built to transport Jews from the ghetto in Lodz to the Chelmno and Auschwitz death camps. First they took children and the elderly, then all Jews from Europe and the “unproductive” intelligentsia from Prague, Vienna, Luxembourg, and Germany. Franz Kafka’s two sisters were among those in the ghetto, and we are shown the house where they lived for a few months before they were led to the gas chambers.
In Litzmannstadt a production ghetto was created with 117 companies where residents had to work arduous 12 hour shifts to fulfil the needs of the German army. It was the only one of its kind, and therefore was the last to be shut down of all the ghettos in Europe, in August 1944. Over 204,000 people passed through the ghetto, with the death toll estimated at 194,000, and only 10,000 survivors. Among these are a few people who are living in Sweden today.
Three of them appear in the film – Professor Stella Tjajkowski; concert pianist and D. Phil. Roman Freund, both from Stockholm; and the late businessman Nachman Zonabend who worked in the ghetto as a postman.
Andrzej Bart (born 1952), a Polish writer, who is today considered to be one of Poland’s absolute best and in a class all his own, wrote the screenplay for the documentary film Radegast, which after four years of work will have its world premiere in Stockholm at the Museum of Ethnography on April 2, 2009. It is a depiction of fear, evil, desperation, and death. A documentary film in a class by itself, which with its quiet narrative technique treats facts from a unique research basis. Among other things, the film employs period music and photographic materials found in a suitcase on Nybrogatan in Stockholm at the home of Nachman Zonabend before he passed away.
After the film will follow a discussion with Andrzej Bart and the young director Borys Lankosz who will be guests at the festival.