In 1933, Poland had the largest population of Jews in Europe, roughly 3.3 million. Three-quarters of Poland’s Jews were concentrated in cities and urban areas, while the remainder lived in rural settings.
After the depredations of war, Nazi extermination, and occupation, by 1950 the Jewish population of Poland was a mere 45,000 souls.
In the immediate pre-war years—1938 and 1939—Shaul and Yitzhak Goskind of Warsaw-based Sektor Films produced six short travelogues about urban Jewish communities in Poland. These were: A Day in Warsaw, Jewish Life in Bialystok, Jewish Life in Cracow, Jewish Life in Lodz, Jewish Life in Lvov, and Jewish Life in Vilna. (A viable copy of the Lodz film has never been found.)
They are some of our only windows into that now-vanished world.