Polish Mother Love
Hon Consul Gosia Hill, delivered the opening address at the World Premiere of the feature documentary Once My Mother at the Adelaide Film Festival 2013. The feature documentary re-examines the relationship of the film Director, Sophia Turkiewicz with her mother, a Polish refugee. http://oncemymother.com/. The Premiere was sold out and a standing ovation was testimony to the film’s heart tugging impact on the audience. The screening was followed by the cocktails sponsored by http://www.alexandrinacheese.com.au/ and http://www.foxcreekwines.com/.
Read Gosia’s speech:
My name is Gosia Hill and I am the Honorary Consul for the Republic of Poland in South Australia. Poland is now a prospering democracy but its history has been filled with tragic events. The film we are about to see today is testimony to the resilience of the Polish people and their never-say-die attitude.
On this special occasion of the World Premier of the feature documentary, Once My Mother, on behalf of the Polish Government and myself, I would like to congratulate the Director, Sophia Turkiewicz and the Producer Rod Freedman on creating this documentary.
It is well known that in 1939 Hitler’s Nazi Germany invaded Poland from the west, starting the Second World War, which claimed over 14 million military losses and around 27 million civilian lives. Poles were one of the highest casualties. Including Polish Jews, almost a quarter of Poland’s population was exterminated.
It is a less known fact, however, that Stalin’s Soviet Forces attacked Poland from the east on September 17 1939.
At least 2 million Poles were exiled, deported and sent by Stalin to slave labour in Siberia, Kazakhstan and East Asia.
Many died in the camps from hypothermia, lack of nutrition, or diseases such as typhoid or malaria.
Others survived to join the Polish Forces under Allied command, battling Nazi Germany in Africa and Europe. Most never returned to Poland, as it was annexed by the Soviet regime after the war. They saw the war out in refugee camps in the Middle East, Africa, India, New Zealand and Mexico. Their lives were torn apart.
Sophia’s mother was one of those millions. As a single mother she was accepted for resettlement in Australia.
Let her story not be forgotten. Let the film, Once My Mother, be a reminder and a lesson to us and the future generations on the cruelty of war and the power of resilience, love, forgiveness and compassion.