Documentary Scouts Forever
The story of a group of scouts, all in their nineties, who as children were part of Polish resistance against the Nazis during WWII. They were spies, couriers, nurses and in 1944 they fought during the Warsaw Uprising. Some were arrested and sent to concentrations camps, others were killed.
Inclusion StatementThere are 10 million Polish Americans in the US. Although, most are assimilated, they are very proud of their heritage. Many enroll their children in Polish Scouts groups and schools. The crew is all polish but the director Dianela Urdaneta is a Latina who brings a unique perspective to the story.
About The Project
The children belonging to Scouts Group 22 and 54 grew up in the Grochow neighborhood of Warsaw in the 1930s. They went to the same schools, most attended the same church, and they all joined the scouts at approximately the same age. As scouts they did what most scouts do all over the world: learn camping skills, love for their country and be loyal to each other.
Members of Scout Group 22
In 1939, just before the occupation of Poland by Germany and the Soviet Union, The Polish Scouting Organization decided to go underground. It had to prepare the scouts to be the soldiers of the future. From underground schools and among the altar boys, the teachers and priests would select the children who were brave and able to keep secrets to form units of four or five children. They would spend many hours spying on German troops to gather information for the Home Army, the Polish resistance during the occupation. They would conduct sabotages: changing street names from German back to Polish; stealing German flags and writing graffiti on the walls. They would dig for weapons previously hidden in cemeteries. They would be the couriers and messengers and they would distribute newspapers made by members of the resistance.
In 1944 during the Warsaw Uprising, hundreds of the older scouts took part in the fight. Many of the girl scouts worked as nurses. Almost all the information distributed during the uprising was through the scouts. Some of the scouts were captured and sent to concentration and labor camps. Others were killed.
Scouts serving as messengers during Warsaw Uprising
Scouts taking a break from the fight during Warsaw Uprising
Although the story of the scouts’ resistance is well known in Poland, little is known outside. After the end of WWII, The Yalta Conference of February 1945 sanctioned the creation of a provisional government in Poland, then under the influence of the Soviet Union. For the following fifty years a communist-controlled government ruled the country, resulting in many economic and political problems and isolation of its people. It was only after 1990, with the victory of Lech Walesa and the Solidarity Movement, that Poland started opening up to the world economy and many amazing stories of bravery of the Polish resistance during WWII started to come out.
Lech Walesa, President of Poland
Due to the country’s isolation, many Polish people believe that they have been misunderstood, and at times criminalized. The narrative on this subject tends to focus on the Holocaust and the killing of more than three million Polish Jews during WWII. Not much is known about Poland's loss of more than two million of its non-Jewish citizens during the war. The Warsaw Uprising was a terrible tragedy. Close to two hundred thousand civilians and twenty thousand soldiers were killed. Eighty percent of the city of Warsaw was destroyed.
Eigthy percent of Warsaw was destroyed during the Warsaw Uprising
Seventy years later, the survivors of scout groups 22 and 54, fourteen men and six women, maintain a strong bond of friendship. They get together regularly to carry on the mission of educating new generations of Polish children about the resistance movement and the importance of honoring those who gave their life for a free Poland.
Members of Scouts Groups 22 & 54 during a meeting in Warsaw, 2014
We believe this documentary will not only educated the audience about an unknown history of WWII but more importantly will explore the conditions that would motivate adults: teachers, scout leaders, priests and parents to allow and encourage children to take such risks. In our interview with many of the scouts, only one questioned the participation of children in the resistance. For the rest “there was no other choice.” They see their sacrifices and their loss of innocence as a “duty and an honor.”
Scouts Forever is fiscally sponsored by Women in Film and Video, a 501 (c) 3 community benefit organization. If you would like to make a tax deductible donation, please email me at email@example.com
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About This Team
DIANELAURDANETA, PRODUCER/ DIRECTOR/ WRITER
Dianela Urdaneta is a producer, writer and director with more than 25 years of experience. She has produced VNRs, PSAs, Features videos and Documentaries both in English and Spanish for Reuters TV, Voice of America TV, CNN Spanish, CBS Telenoticias, the Inter-American Development Bank, AARP and TMN, among others. She is the owner of the multimedia production company, “Arthavision.” Her videos have won five “Communitas Award” given by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals, in the categories of “Making a Difference” and “Social Responsibility”, as well as a “Communicator Award” in the category of “Social Issues. Ms. Urdaneta holds a Master of Art in Film and Video from the American University in Washington D.C., and a BA in Broadcast Journalism from Zulia University in Venezuela.