Lusia Krakowska (Mrs Arendt)

Family name: 
Krakowska (Mrs Arendt)
Work area/craft/role: 
Interview Number: 
Interview Date(s): 
23 Jan 1998
Production Media: 
Duration (mins): 

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Interview with Lusia Krakowska

Lusia Krakowska, Film Editor Interviewer Roy Fowler
Recorded on the 23rdJanuary 1998

Side One:

RF: The date is 23rdJanuary 1998 and we're recording Lusia Krakowska, that is L-U-S-I-A K- R-A-K-O-W-S-K-A who was originally I think came from Poland, is that right?

LK: From Danzig

RF: From Danzig, right

LK: Which was a free state when I was born. It's now part of Poland and called Gdansk, but in my day it was called the free state of Danzig, lies between...on the border between Germany and Poland.

RF: And caused a lot of aggro in the thirties

LK: Not only the thirties, throughout its history, traditionally, it was the cause of much trouble

RF: Without being en galant may I for the record ask where you were born...when you were born

LK: 1924

RF: 1924, my god, you wear your years well

LK: Thankyou (laughs)

RF: Right, and we'll start at the beginning. Would you sketch in your family background and ultimately how you came to work in motion pictures?

LK: My father was a grain merchant and I had a rather interesting childhood because he had granaries and the ships came and went on the river, which was called Motława, Motlau in Germany, which was quite an exciting town. The town is an old Hanseatic town which was totally destroyed by the Germans and has been rebuilt since by the Polish government so faithfully from old photographs that when I went three years ago I recognised every house, the school I went to, and the house where I was born wasn't standing anymore, but I was able to show my children exactly where I was born and where I used to go to school and so on. My father was Jewish so in 1938 when he was abroad on business he was told not to come back as there was already trouble in the Jewish community. The Jews were being rounded up so my mother packed us all off and all the household furniture and so on, she organised it all and sent it off to England. We came, my sister and I who's a few years older than I am, came to Warsaw, to get a plane, we had a visa to Britain, which was procured through some business friends of my father to come to England. We arrived in Warsaw two or three days before the war broke out and had a seat on the plane on the Wednesday. My mother had left on Wednesday morning, we couldn't get seats together and we were supposed to come a few hours later but didn't manage it. Friday, the Germans marched in and we, my sister and I, were left in Warsaw which was a totally strange city to us, though we did speak the language having been brought up bilingually , or trilingually really because my grandmother was French, but we didn't know anybody and we spent the first part of 1940 in Warsaw and eventually through again business friends from Hungary – Hungary was not in the war yet – we were – it's a long story – but eventually we came to England, the last ship which was allowed to land, it was some weeks before Dunkirk, so we arrived in 1940 in England.

RF: That's astonishing

LK: We have written up the story and deposited with the Imperial War Museum because it was quite an interesting story, as we were young, young girls

RF: How aware were you at the time, the threats, what was going on for example and the danger you were in?

LK: The journey itself was, when I look at it back now of course one couldn't do it at our age at all, I think it was a bit of an adventure for 2 young girls. I mean, frightened as we were and many, many dramatic things happened on the way, very many, but it was a bit of an adventure two young girls to come to England. And we had each other, my sister was older, she did look after me extremely well and eventually we came to England[i].

RF: Were you aware of the threat to the Jewish population then?

LK: Well in Danzig we were because already there were beatings and shops were being destroyed and so on. Full extent, of course, we weren't aware as children.

RF: That was by the German population in Danzig?

LK: By the Germans and there was Nazi troops and so on and so forth. Danzig was a strange city because it had Polish schools and German schools, Polish Post office and German Post Office but the German side of everything, culture and everything was the majority rather. We went to a Polish school in the end, started in a German school, but father took us out when we when we had to greet each morning with a “Heil Hitler”. That was the week we left German school and went to a Polish school so when we arrived, in 1940 in England, I would say we were young, I mean I was 15-16 but in those days it was like being 12. We were streetwise rather than mature, there is a difference, we managed, we were streetwise but immature in everything else.

RF: Presumably though you led a fairly protected, sheltered life as an adolescent until this happened?

LK: Yes very. Very, but one grows up very quickly. I even remember cutting up a dead horse because we were starving in Warsaw and there were horses lying all over the place and so on

RF: That was in late 1939, early 40s?

LK: Yes. So one grows up quickly and manages

RF: And we're inclined to forget, I fear, too easily. Right, so it must have been almost out of the frying pan and into the fire arriving here after Dunkirk

LK: Yes, yes, I was sent to a boarding school in Eastbourne because the medical opinion was I should lead a very structured life. Obviously our nerves must have been in a poor state, so we went to a boarding school to have a very, very structured life and I remember thinking all my peer group were incredibly childish, you know they were worried about the giggly girlish things and they had come out of.....

RF: Playing Hockey?

LK: Yes and when you heard the guns from across the channel, there was Dunkirk and so on and so forth, they were not very impressed and we were terrified, my sister and I, because we thought, you know, any moment now the Germans are going to march into England

RF: But the family survived intact

LK: Well just our family, just our family

RF: Immediate family

LK: My immediate family, 4 of us

RF: Tell me, arriving here as a refugee, were you treated well by the authorities, or were they suspicious?

LK: No, no, we were very well treated, very well treated, there was no difficulty, if there were I wasn't aware of it, we were very well treated. I was sent to English boarding school and from there I went to the Regent Street Polytechnic for a photography course. That was

my first technical venture. What is suRFrising to me this very day that having lived here over half a century I still have a foreign intonation and accent

RF: Yes

LK: I'm told by linguistics people the age people can lose it is 12 or 13 so I was obviously just over that. I think in English, I write in English, English is my language and yet I have this foreign intonation that everyone after half a sentence says, where do you come from? I think I must have heard it a thousand times. But England is my, I cant say my country, my adopted country, my children are very English so it's been good, it's been good.

RF: 1940, that's 60 years ago

LK: Yes

RF: One last question about the family; your father was able to re-establish himself as a businessman, was he?

LK: Well after some time, yes, but in timber. He loved Scotland, he couldn't understand why he spent all his time in cities before that, he loved Scotland and he established a timber business in Scotland. But after the war, AMRA (?)[ii]used him as an expert in seeds because it was a very topical problem. The seed import into war torn countries so he did quite a bit of work in AMRA. Both my parents died in England, so a natural death.

RF: So you're here clearly by the skin of your teeth

LK: Yes

RF: Right, much to say about the Eastbourne School? Or was that just a conventional English education?

LK: A conventional English school and I learnt to eat porridge (laughs)

RF: Right, fairly essential isn't it

LK: (laughing) Very essential, very strange for a mid European.

RF: Are you beginning to think about a career already? Was it required of you or did you have any indication yourself what you wanted to do with your life

LK: No, I think that a friend in Paris, we were discussing careers

RF: This was, what, after the war now?

LK: No, no, on our way through to England, there was a family of friends in Paris, who for weeks came to meet every single train from that part of Europe until they actually found us. We were discussing our future life and so on and somebody mentioned photography and somehow it stuck, so when I came back from the boarding school obviously my parents investigated photography courses and chose the Regent Street Polytechnic and that was one and I did that and the City and Guilds Examinations in Applied Photography and that was the way into the Polish Film Unit as they wanted somebody with slight technical knowledge who could turn a negative to a positive.

RF: What year is this now?

LK: We are now in '42, beginning of '42

RF: Right, so it was quite soon after

LK: Yes, and they needed somebody who spoke English and Polish

RF: So you, as it were, slipped into the Polish community in London?

LK: I cannot say that because I have never in all these years ... I've got very, very few Polish friends so have adopted England and most of my friends are British, but the Polish film unit, I did not apply, I was approached. I cannot remember how that happened, who knew that I'd done this course, must have been somebody who knew my father perhaps. I was approached whether I would consider the Polish Film Unit as I spoke already then fluent English

RF: From learning here, or.....

LK: Well of course I had schoolgirl English and perhaps that is one of the reasons that I speak with an accent because I already spoke English when I came to England, so some of the English was already established and it didn't take me long to speak it very fluently and with my photography background I was approached “Would I like a job?” and I was veryexcited about it as a young girl to be offered a job in Denham Studios[iii].

RF: They were based at Denham were they?

LK: They were based at Denham studios

RF: Well, since I don't suppose it's that well documented other than perhaps by the Imperial War Museum, let's go into it in detail. What did they say to you when they approached you? They wanted you as someone aware of photography and also able to translate, was that correct?

LK: I think they needed somebody who spoke Polish and English. In fact I had been working for them for weeks without knowing what I was supposed to do. I kept on asking everybody there: What am I doing here? What am I supposed to do? There wasn't a definite role for me and I don't think they knew themselves in the beginning.

RF: How well established were they?

LK: They were established in '42 by somebody called Eugene Cenkalski[iv]

RF: You'd better spell that last name I think

LK: Eugene Cenkalski. He was well known, fairly well known in Poland. He was a poet, film director and a writer and he organised and opened the film unit, became a director, the First Director. He was hoping it would be a nucleus for the resumption of film activities in Poland after the war. This was his idea of starting it. And a number of short films 1, 2 and 3 reelers were made as well as documenting the life of the Polish forces in Britain. There was the

ex General Anders[v], the Polish army from Africa quartered in Scotland, in baronial hall in Scotland and we went round. By that time I was a bit of a continuity girl and we went round shooting in all these stately homes and baronial halls. The Polish army stationed in Scotland so it was a matter of establishing a library of the Polish activities[vi].

RF: Was the unit part of the Polish services in this country or was it entirely separate?

LK: It were separate , it was part of the Ministry of Information and Documentation. The Polish department of the MOI had film divisions in Stretton House, Albemarle Street[vii].

RF: So it was funded by this country rather than the Polish government in exile?

LK: Yes it was funded by the Ministry of Information

RF: OK. You say you went to them and they were unsure what they were supposed to do, when did it begin to sort itself out?

LK: Well eventually, I learnt as I went along, because nobody really took the time to teach me, I learnt as I went along. I remember we recruited somebody from a documentary unit called Seven Leagues[viii]who had already been working, a young girl, Ruth, I cant remember her first name, er her second name, who had a bit more technical background than I did. We catalogued and established the library for the Polish film unit. That was mainly our

job in the beginning, there was masses of material as you can imagine, and we catalogued and spliced it and so on and established a big library and after that I had.....

RF: So this was film material?

LK: Yes film material, old film material, a big library, in fact I'm jumping a bit, but I was asked after the war, quite a few years after the war, where all the material was. I was asked through Stefan Osiecki, Ill talk about the people in the film unit in a moment and I was repeatedly asked in the '80s where all the material was of the Polish Film Unit because there was an enormous amount. I was asked from Warsaw, via one or two of the Poles who were still alive then in the '80s, I didn't know, they didn't know, we never established where the material was. Whether it went back to Poland or whether it was lost in the archive of the Polish Ministry, we don't know.

RF: You think it would have been saved then, not junked? Who knows?

LK: Who knows? Who knows? I don't know, I don't know. But there was an enormous amount of material. The films of course survived mainly, I don't know that all films survived, the Concanen Production had somewhere archives, well I don't know. (background someone: I don't think a lot, no, what about Unfinished Journey, would that have been in the archives?) Unfinished Journey would have been in the archives as that was a rather important film and very emotional contents to the Polish community in London. It was about General Sikorski[ix]who his plane on return to England, I cant remember where he came from, probably all documented

RF: Gibraltar...he crashed in Gibraltar, didn't he?

LK: Crashed, and there were ugly rumours

RF: Lets not jump ahead lets stay with these early days. How many people comprised the unit?

LK: Not many, less than half a dozen. There was Cenkalski, who as I said he organised and founded it. There was a very interesting man called Stefan Themerson[x], who was an

extraordinary man. He was a renaissance man, he was the writer of philosophical treaties and he was a children's writer, a man of letters, he was an extraordinary man, he was married to Franciszka – Frances – Themerson, who was a painter of great renown on the continent, so she was not part of the Polish unit, but he was and he directed quite a few films. If I'm not careful it will turn into a eulogy of the Themersons as they were really a remarkable couple. When he died a few years ago, I don't know whether you've seen it, but when he died a few years ago there were enormous obituaries in all the papers because he was an extraordinary man, but he was not the mainstay of the Polish unit, the mainstay was Cenkalski. Though I believe I was asked by him because he asked my parents, that I got into the Polish Film Unit through him and not through anybody else. His wife was working at the Ministry of Information during the war and she was used as a contact between the letters and the other materials from Lisbon. Everything from Poland, the Polish underground and letters from the Ghetto were sent to Lisbon and from Lisbon to England and she distributed them to the authorities and to the families and wherever it was important to send them. So I think it was he who got me into the Polish Film Unit, but it was a long time ago and I don't exactly remember. So that was the second person, the third person was director Stefan Osiecki[xi], also a film director. All these people were fairly well known in Poland so I was told. I had never been living in Poland, and I was a schoolgirl so I wouldn't have known but I was told they were all extremely well known in Poland before the war.

RF: What sort of ages were they? 20s, 30s, 40s?

LK: 30s (Background – I would say at least 30) yes I think they would be in their 30s. They were old to me (laughs) you know I was full of respect because they seemed to...they were another generation, so he was the third. And then there was a younger man called Peter Piper[xii], who learned his craft in the Polish Army film unit because there was a film unit in the Polish Army

RF: The Polish Army here?

LK: Yes

RF: Or previously?

LK: No no, here, which made some films and worked with quite eminent people. It was Malcolm Sargeant[xiii]who used to do the music for them, James McKechnie[xiv], Bruce Graeme[xv], they made army films – The Shortest Route, Kitbag and so on and so forth. So this Piper had come from the Polish Army film unit. So that was four. I, five. And the girl

from Seven Leagues who's now called Ruth Ainsbury but I cant remember her maiden name. So that was all, and Derek De Marney[xvi]was our producer

RF: Now, was he of Polish origin?

LK: I didn't know, he was Irish (background – he was Irish and his family was from the Channel Islands)

RF: One has to ask then how he ended up in the Polish Film Unit? Have you any idea

Background: Well I was working for him at the time I just left the Boulting brothers and he had his own quite small production company –

LK: Concanen[xvii]

Background: Yes Concanen productions and he was an actor, he was always very given to wanting to direct and was full of bright ideas and I think through the MOI probably, I imagine, my memory goes a bit wonky when it comes to the details, they probably thought he would be very suitable for the liaison to produce with the Poles, that's my memory of coming across .....

RF: Before I go on, I should identify this third voice that we're hearing, Mary Harvey, who is also been in the film industry for a great many years and also has her own recording I think in our archive. That's so you know who it is.

RF: Lusia, it also occurs to me there would be all sorts of security implications, did they check on you?

LK: No not as far as I remember. If I may just link up with something Mary said Derek De Marney being of Irish origin id like to say the Polish and the Irish are very alike. In many, and that is probably why they got on so well because they have a streak in their character I think is very very similar.

RF: Well now let me ask you to define that streak

LK: We have the gift of the gab, but poorer than the Irish, they are daredevils, they were always called extremely brave in the war in the airforce and so on, and I think it was a sort of daredevil streak, not thinking about tomorrow, just doing things for today and I think the Irish have that too.

MH: I think so, I think ill back you up there

RF: Madcap?

LK: Yes, good description, so I think one of the reasons Derek got on so well with all of them was this underlying similarity in their characters

RF: Two questions now, first of all, what was the divine puRFose of the unit, was it to make films and materials for general release or was it aimed particularly at the Polish servicemen here?

LK: No it was not aimed at the Polish servicemen. They wanted to make documentaries of all sorts of subjects, like the plane crash with Sikorski and some were straight propaganda films. I've lately seen 2 of them again after I didn't remember any of them, The Eye and the Ear[xviii]and Calling Mr Smith[xix]. I don't know if you ever, they were produced by Concanen Production and one was a propaganda film and one was pure art, The Eye and the Ear was visual art so they were documentary films and as I said before Cenkalski was hoping that having a group of people together who were versed in films that this would become a nucleus of a film industry in Poland. As it happened he was the only one who returned to Poland and died soon after that. The others stayed in England.

RF: Died naturally, or under the regime

LK: Yes, no no, naturally.

RF: Right, now, who was funding the production, was it the MOI?

LK: I thought about that quite deeply and I think it must have been the MOI

MH: I think so... is just as new to me as it was to you, so I wouldn't have wondered where the money was coming from but I think it must have certainly been as Derek very much worked for the MOI

LK: Yes he did didn't he

MH: Wasn't it called the COI in those days?

RF: No, No, No

LK: Centre of Information

RF: No, COI was Post war. The MOI was always the Ministry of Truth (laughing) in 1984

MH: Yes I think there's very little doubt that's what it would have been

LK: I've been trying to dredge my memory of the films that they made and I didn't come up with very much I mean, Unfinished Journeys is the one, and as I mentioned Calling Mr Smith which was a propaganda film and The Eye and the Ear, This is Poland[xx], The Polish Soldier[xxi]that's all I could come up with and they were all documentaries of two ....


RF: Where did the crews come from? Were entirely self contained or did you get English crews?

LK: No we were entirely self contained, entirely self contained

RF: So everyone is doubling up, by the sound of it, on discipline

LK: Yes, everybody did something, I think I wrote, and sometimes produce, Derek was executive producer and Cenkalski produced and then I took over the editing, I was taught by all of them a little bit, so yes we did absolutely everything, everybody did everything

RF: But how about the production crews, the camera for example, or sound, were...who provided that?

LK: I think mainly we did it, this young chap from the Polish Army film unit, this Peter, I remember him with a camera but there must have been other people come from outside, British crews, it couldn't all have been done by 4 people because there was a steady stream of little films. A steady stream, mind you they were not so very long in existence the Polish films, I made it that we were dismissed in '43 '44, I'll talk about the dismissal in a moment but it was just probably two years, 3 years, it made such an impact, yet everybody in Denham studios knew the Polish Film Unit , everybody, it was very exciting, we had... on one side, I was given lifts , very very exciting to a young girl, by Lawrence Olivier and Vivien Leigh, I think they were making Henry V in those days

RF: Well, Henry V went into production in '43

LK: Yes

RF: How did the unit end up at Denham? Any idea?

LK: No, I have no idea it was already in Denham when I appeared on the scene because I had my first interview in Denham

RF: Whereabouts in the studio? Do you remember?

LK: The main cutting room floor, on the ground floor from the cutting room

RF: And what did they have, a cutting room and offices?

LK: Just the cutting room, the offices were all in London, in Stirton Street, in the Ministry of Information. As I told Mary before, I'm the only one left alive from the lot, there was a girl Ursula, her maiden name was Lubelski, who was a sort of administrative assistant who handled most of the papers at the Ministry of Information at the Polish section. She died sadly 3 months ago, 2 months ago, so she I was hoping she would help my memory and give us various information but by the time all this came up, she was already very ill, so I didn't manage to talk to her about it at all. But as far as I know there's nobody left from those days, nobody, I know that Osiecki died some years ago, Cenkalski as I said died in the war, people I've lost touch with and Themerson died not very long ago, I've got his obituary.

RF: So material like that we will photocopy a little later on and put into our archives. So, getting to Denham, if I may quote, was always a pain in the arse, so where were you living, how did you get down to the studio?

LK: I went by train to Uxbridge and from Uxbridge there was a bus. On the way back, as I said, I was terribly fortunate as I was given lifts by all sorts of people actors, producers – everybody knew the Polish Film Unit, I suppose as it was a strange flower (?) among the technicians, perhaps it was Derek's charm and personality which was why we were well known, but everybody knew the polish film unit, there was hardly an evening when I didn't get a lift back but I always went by underground to Uxbridge

RF: You were living in London?

LK: Yes I was living in London

RF: Now Denham at that time was becoming very highly unionised, ACT was beginning

LK: Yes

RF: Were you asked to....

LK: Yes I was a member of the ACT from my very early days and I kept up the membership for years and years after I left the profession out of emotional....

RF: Do you remember your number?

LK: No. I did keep it for years, but as I told you I had an other profession after a little while from the '60s onwards. I junked most of the material, so no I don't remember, but I kept my membership up for years afterwards.

RF: Well if we know the year you were born, it could be traced because all the records are at Berkhampstead in the National Film and Television Archive, so you joined when, in '42 would you say?

LK: Yes

RF: Well if anyone wants to they can go through the '42 applications

MH: You didn't by any chance find yourself talked into it by Bert Bachelor? Did you know Bert Bachelor?

LK: No

RF: Do you have any memories of the Works Committee at Denham , which politically was very influential

LK: No, I'm trying to remember before I came, no. I know I was a member and I kept it up for years afterwards but that's all which helped after the war when I had a job in the Crown FilmunitandIcannotrememberhowmanyyearsIworkedintheCrownFilmUnit -2-3 years, I did the foreign versions

RF: Again lets not jump ahead we'll come to that in chronological order. A slight digression, you mentioned before that David Lean was on one side and

LK: Ronald Neame ... was on the same corridor

RF: So this was Cineguild[xxii]?

LK: Yes

RF: So what were they making – This Happy Breed?

LK: I remember This Happy Breed but I do not know if that was during that time. Of course being a newcomer to all of this, I probably should have been more impressed than I was with all these great names, having coffee with them, and so on and so forth because I did not quite realise who...what they represented and so on. I remember the names

RF: Do you have any memories of David Lean?

LK: Oh yes

RF: What are your recollections of him?

LK: Well he was editor in those days

RF: Well he'd begun to direct, he was co-director on In Which We Serve and then they formed the Cineguild unit with Noel Coward and that would be...well he cut Mickey Powell and Emeric Pressberger's film the 49thParallel which was filmed .... but I think that before you went to the studio in '42

LK: Yes

RF: I think its probably This Happy Breed that they were working on

LK: Quite possibly

MH: It could have been In Which We Serve as they were out...

RF: Well yeah, I think it mostly '41 when that was shot – '41 into '42

LK: I remember that to me in those days Ronald Neame was a much easier character to be with than David Lean, I found him a bit difficult.

RF: Still is, or was, got worse.

LK: Yes I remember that very clearly.

RF: I was just curious if you remember the life and times of Denham because some great films were shot there at that particular period.

LK: Yes, at that particular period

RF: Do you remember Michael Powell and Emeric Pressberger[xxiii]?

LK: Yes I do remember them

RF: Anything specific

LK: I spent quite a bit of time whenever I could in the studios themselves because to me that was glamour personified as you can imagine

RF: Watching the films being shot?

LK: I remember the films being shot yes

RF: There was quite a considerable ex-patriot, well not ex-patriot that's the wrong word, but foreign or emigre technicians at that time especially amongst the senior levels but that was a hangover from the Korda era

LK: Yes

RF: And so many people came in from Germany

LK: Well yes I remember Suschitzky[xxiv], possibly a few names, if you give me a few names I can tell you if I remember them or not

RF: Well there were cameramen weren't there

LK: Cameramen and yes. Walter...Walter,....another cameraman made good and went to Hollywood, shot some beautiful stuff in Greece, Walter Lassally[xxv].

RF: That's later though

LK: Is it later?

RF: Yes

LK: The years are a little bit mixed up. I cant quite remember because in later years I worked for the Basic and for the Grunweld in later years so its a bit mixed up and for Lindsey Anderson was then with the coal board and I get mixed when what happened because as I said the film unit only existed for two or three years, not for very long.

RF: This was the exciting period of the studio, Two Cities Films[xxvi]. Do you remember Del Giudice[xxvii]?

LK: Yes I do indeed

RF: What do you remember?

LK: Well I remember being told who they all were, big eyes, at the side and looked at all these people, it was very exciting, I didn't have except for Ronald Neame, David Lean and Derek of course and Olivier, I didn't have any personal contact, there were names and I was told who they were and what they were doing

RF: Ronnie's still alive, he called me in December, he was here on a trip. Sounded in great shape

LK: I do remember he was very, very kind to me, very nice, I do remember that very much

RF: He suffered at the hands of David Lean eventually. OK, back to the film unit have you given us the account of it and its activities?

LK: Yes I think so. I've given you the names of the films I remember and I do think that most of them were produced by Concanen productions probably not all, but most of them, correct me if I'm wrong

MH: I cant really correct you as I think some of those were done perhaps before I joined Derek

LK: That's possible

MH: And I don't know anyone else left who would have been there at the time

LK: The Edinburgh Film Guild may have perhaps some material because Cenkalski addressed the Edinburgh Film Guild in '42 before he founded the Polish Film Unit and they showed some of his pre war films, I know that as a fact but whether he kept up with them later, I don't know. This was '42 and they had access to his pre war films which I never saw.

RF: Well maybe they came over from Poland if they were retrospective

LK: Yes

Side Two:

RF: One question about the films that you were on, what release did they have? A circuit release did they?

LK: Yes they had a circuit release, most of them. There was of course a large Polish community here in London, which I had very little to do with, but all the nice various shows for all of these films, but most of them had through the Ministry of Information, I don't know how that worked, but most of them had released in general cinemas. Perhaps you know more about it, how Concanen Productions got into general release, but they did, they did

MH: The MOI would have seen to it that they got released. If they paid to produce a film, that was with the reason it would go out with the film.

RF: Yes, it was days of how to peel a potato and things like that

LK: Yes. All of these films which I have mentioned before had general releases, there must have been others.

RF: Right, now what was your developing role in the film business, industry?

LK: After the Polish Film Unit?

RF: Well I suppose from the unit itself, what have you been...yes?

MH: Can I just ... She's of a modest disposition and she won't tell us she was editing the one film that she made, I remember going to see it after we parted more or less. It was a very very good film.

LK: But that was quite a few years after the Polish Film Unit, yes that was when I worked for Basic

MH: My memory tells me it was only about a year.

RF: From Archivist, and by the sound of it, general dogsbody

LK: General Girl Friday

RF: How did it all develop for you? When did you first start cutting?

LK: During the Polish Film Units existence, the year afterwards, I was watching them cutting and everybody taught me a little bit. I also spent a great deal of time in the negative, I don't know quite what its called, upstairs the cutting room floor, the negative they cut, and watched that with great fascination. I started cutting in '42 I think, so what I'd learnt and picked up and was told by the directors of the films and by Derek De Marney , what they wanted and so on so I started cutting a little bit.

RF: As an editor yourself

LK: Yes

RF: And an assistant

LK: Yes.

RF: Do you remember what first you worked on? Which one?

LK: No. Of course the actual technical part of it I learnt on the material which was shot in Scotland, on the actual building up the library, so on the cataloguing and so on, to make some sense of what they were bringing back from Scotland in big quantities, so the actual technical splicing so to speak, I learnt on that material

RF: It's all 35 is it?

LK: All 35, yes it was all 35, no 16 or 8

RF: OK, well then you lead us on from what you were doing then and what you did next

LK: Well there was a rather unpleasant period after that because in '44, Themerson was dismissed. I don't quite know how the others stopped working, I think Cenkalski went back to Poland but there was an organisation called, not an organisation, a department of the MOI. It was called Interim Treasury Committee for Polish Questions. They took over the assets and liabilities of the Polish unit and we were all dismissed. Reading through catalogue material, I came across since all this came up, I came across a niece of Themerson whom I knew when she first came to England, the very young girl and as co-incidences happen she lives 4 minutes from me. And the Themersons lived in Maida Vale, also a stones throw from where I lived, for 20-30 years I had no idea of this at all and I looked through some material which she has, their niece has, catalogue to an extraordinary limit, I mean I've never seen anything like it, big room in a house where every letter, every postcard, every book, every essay is catalogued and beautifully kept, both the painter, Mrs Themerson and Mr Themerson, so I got some of the information from there. Looking through it, I found the date, '44, when he was dismissed by this Interim Treasury Committee and there was a rather acrimonious correspondence between this Committee and the Themersons. They demanded copies of all his films back because they said there was a contract which stipulated that he should hand all the films back. He disputed that and maintained there was no contract at all and that he was entitled to keep copies of all his films. Obviously he did, as the two films I have mentioned The Eye and the Ear and Calling Mr Smith I saw at Jasia, the niece, house, 3 months ago. He obviously kept the films.

RF: It sounds as if there was some sort of confrontation between officialdom and the unit – do you have any idea?

LK: No, the correspondence was rather acrimonious, short and to the point, in saying that he must return all the films and we apparently were all dismissed by them

RF: But you've no idea why or why the unit was disbanded?

LK: No, I suppose, with the end of the war, no this was before the end of the war

RF: This was '44 you said

LK: Yes, this was '44

RF: Well it's an important period when they're planning on post-war aren't they. It sounds as if something happened

MH: ...Before the war had ended

RF: Indeed yes, Nothing to do with Sikorski or anyone...?

LK: Who knows? It may have been political because there was...

Break in tape

RF: Right, we're talking about the disbanding...dismemberment as you describe it

LK: Yes, in '44, which was before the end of the war. They took, this committee I've mentioned, they took over the asset and liability the Polish Film Unit. Perhaps they were bankrupt or very much in the red and some Committee was formed to make sense of it. But from the correspondence I saw, it wasn't a very pleasant period. It wasn't just the exchange of letters between the Themersons and them, it was what it implied, it was coached in civil service language of course

RF: What was the implication as you read it? (inaudible)

LK: No, no, it was regarding the whole thing as necessary and the quicker it was finished the better it was for everybody. That was sort of my gut reaction to it.

RF: It was a very political time, people were jockeying for position for after the war and there was left influences and right influences so it may have been a highly political move. Right well, pity we don't know more about that

LK: Yes, and it's also a pity that all the material has disappeared and that all these films are not somewhere together in one place not one here, one there, one over there. It is a great pity as these films were made by very talented people, the crème de la crème of the avant garde movement in Poland and it's a great pity that it seems all to have vanished so very much

MH: It's a great blow isn't it

LK: Yes

RF: So much has been lost in all areas. OK, so where are you then, out of a job by the sound of it

LK: Out of a job

RF: And now you consider yourself an editor full fledged

LK: Well I don't know about full fledged but yes I considered myself an editor. I had a stroke of luck because there was a very well known Polish poet Slonimski[xxviii], very well known Polish poet who needed somebody again who knew Polish and English because he had been made the head of the section of letters in the mass media division of UNESCO - UNESCO being one of the United Nations agencies and again, I cannot for the life of me remember how I got to him but I became his assistant and that was a very exciting time because the preparatory division of UNESCO was being formed including Huxley who was the first director and through this Polish poet Mr Slonimski I met many eminent people, HG Wells, and we went to Paris much against my parents wishes who thought that Paris, the city of iniquity was not for a young unmarried girl (laughs) and I stayed in Paris as Slonimskis assistant for only about a year and I soon transferred to the film division. Managed to get somebody else who spoke Polish and English who became his assistant in the section of letters and I moved over to the film division. And we organised film conferences and stimulated our terms of references, we had to stimulate film productions in various war torn countries so there was quite exciting time – Grierson, John Grierson[xxix]was with us.

RF: Is this before or after VE Day?

LK: This is between '46 and '48

RF: Oh right

LK: After the war. John Grierson was the head of the Films Division and I got to know him extremely well and there was a very well known German man, Borneman, Ernest Borneman[xxx]who died last year, who was in Canada interned as a German. Also an extraordinary man and Grierson brought him over. Got him released from internment in Canada and brought him over to UNESCO so we all worked together. I left in '48 because I heard form the home office in Britain that if I wanted to get British nationality I must return to England because the last 6 months have to be spent on British soil and Julian Huxley[xxxi]tried to convince them, UNESCO being on international ground would count but he didn't win so I had to leave UNESCO much, much to my sorrow because it was good. We were all very idealistic and we really thought we would make a difference to the world to come, sadly it didn't turn out so. But we were all very enthusiastic.

RF: What was Grierson like to work with?

LK: Well I got on with him very, very well indeed perhaps because he had a fondness for young girls, quite possible, knowing John Grierson. I got on well with him. He taught me a lot. I didn't find him difficult, other people found him difficult, I didn't find him difficult

RF: Did you find him a very vain man?

LK: Oh yes, he was vain in the sense of being TheJohn Grierson who knew it all, who knew better than anyone else

RF: Which is presumably why other people didn't get along with him

LK: Which is why people presumably didn't get along with him (laughing). I didn't compete on that level so I was alright

RF: Who else was in the film section?

LK: The other people were not people from Britain, there were people from Holland and Denmark and as I said Borneman from Germany who was a great jazz expert. But none of the other people I think were British

RF: Did any of them go onto fame and fortune or they were just there at the time?

LK: No they were there at the time, but then I wouldn't know about the Dutch film production and the Danish film production and the two names, the names Grierson and Borneman, were the two I remember extremely well so I came back to Britain in '48 and got British nationality in spite of my foreign accent and then got a job in the Crown Film Unit, so the ACT membership stood me in good stead and I was in charge of the foreign versions, which the Ministry of Information – was it then or the Central...

RF: I think it was then the COI by this time

LK: They made an enormous amount of small films, mainly one reelers which they send to all over the world. We made the foreign version in 13 languages and I got the translators from the BBC, whatever language came up

RF: You're based where? Are they still at Pinewood?

LK: In Beaconsfield

RF: Well take us through typical operation then. The Crown Film Unit has shot and cut the picture, they've got a released version presumably, is that right?

LK: Sorry?

RF: The unit has prepared a film which is now completed in its English version, how does it operate from then on, your contribution?

LK: I was asked to produce it in so many languages. I was given a list from London with the languages which were required. I got hold of the BBC's office and they sent...and I sent the script to these people who translated and then came down and we recorded. And we recorded in loops, so it was quite a laborious procedure.

RF: You mean your dubbing lip synch or just do voiceover?

LK: No it was voiceover. I cant remember any lip synch but there were one or two mainly it was voiceover and we did it in loops. My office was in the sound department of Beaconsfield and I put it together.

RF: Yes so you're using magnetic tape by the sound of it then are you? If you're looping?

LK: No its still optical

RF: It seems extraordinary they would loop for voiceover, but there we are, rather than do a continuous take

LK: Well continuous take would be quite a long for 1 or 2 reelers

RF: Did you ever recut the picture or...?

LK: No no I only did the soundtrack and I worked under James Cameron brother. Somebody mentioned him in one of our last meetings. Cameron

RF: Ken Cameron?

LK: Ken Cameron[xxxii]was my boss and I was based in his unit at Beaconsfield. I've been back to Beaconsfield and to Denham and of course its almost not recognisable, such different activities.

RF: Denhams gone

LK: Yes Denham's gone. There's the school in Beaconsfield isn't there. So I stayed with Crown Film Unit for about 2 years. I don't know and I cannot remember whether they stopped making these foreign versions because I had no difficulties there so I cant imagine I would left for any other reasons except that it came to an end. I cant remember how...cos it was quite successful there was an established procedure who came and I remember specially the Dutch translators and the Greek translator and so there was an established procedure and it was all very smooth so perhaps the whole working film version, sending out all over the world came to an end by the end of '49 '50

MH: Think there was a change of government

RF: That came later when the Tories disbanded the film unit because they couldn't make any money out it. I don't know. So then what?

LK: Then I worked for Basic[xxxiii]and for Harlequin[xxxiv]. Leon Clore was of the photos I brought for you to see was from those days with Leon Clore

RF: As an editor?

LK: As an editor. I worked for Basic as an editor, Basil Wright[xxxv]was there I believe, Leon Clore at Harlequin, Hans Neiter at Seven League, and I worked as an editor and then I presumed I was sort of freelancing because I was working for these various companies
- Lindsay Anderson[xxxvi]was at the coal board or perhaps he just made films for the coal board. I cut two of his films and then I worked for Dimitri De Grunwald[xxxvii].

RF: On features?

LK: No on short films, he did short films too. He was quite a charmer and he did quite a few of...I don't know they were the first commercials but they were quite extraordinary commercials, namely they were not lives they were drawings and so forth. They were all shot in France and I used to go over and get the rushes from France, from Paris and cut them.

RF: Who was the animator? Do you remember? The only one I can remember from France in those days was Paul Greenhall, wasn't he was it?

LK: It wasn't there was another well known name that will come to me, I was trying yesterday to remember

RF: Later there was someone called Vaversair (cannot understand this name)

LK: No its wasn't Vaversair but it somebody very well known, he did those early Schweppes films and Camay

RF: Cartoon animation, not film animation

LK: No cartoon, it will come to me very well known artist and it was all done in France and I cut the them over here so I did that for quite a few years

RF: Now you've mentioned some interesting names there, lets have some thumbnail sketches, Leon, Leon Clore, do you remember Leon[xxxviii]?

LK: Oh extremely well, he died not very long ago 2-3 years, couple of years ago. He was a blunt northern, no-nonsense man who went to the heart of the matter in every single case. He was extremely supportive to anybody who worked for him and I only saw that somehow he kept the documentary world alive almost. He was very pleasant, I was very fond of him, what else can I say, he was liked by everybody who worked with him and did quite a few big names; Schlesinger[xxxix]worked for the film which he produced, Karel Reisz[xl]was another one who did films for which Leon produced, but I didn't work on the features, I

worked on the documentaries. He was a very, very nice man and everybody was very fond of him. Nobody found him in the slightest bit difficult, he was supportive all the way through.

RF: But he was very brusque and very tough in his manner wasn't he?

LK: Yes he was very brusque, very blunt, very but it was on the surface and I think it started as we were having this conversation about arrogance before we started. I think it covered up uncertainty and insecurity in the beginning and then it became second nature and it stayed.

RF: Which he enjoyed, I think

LK: Yes I was very, very, very fond of him

RF: How about Basil Wright?

LK: Basil and I also.... I didn't... he worked there the same time I worked there, but I didn't cut anything for him of course. We just had the odd coffee together and so on. I think that Basil Wright also went to Poland, I seem to remember. There was a whole lot of eminent people who were brought over to Poland just after the war. He went and lectured I think in Poland for a bit, once or twice. He was invariably, terribly correct and polite. I remember his polite manner. Whether he was like that to everybody I cant say but I found him a very easy and polite man. Hans Neiter[xli], I don't know whether you knew Hans Neiter

RF: No

LK: He was Seven Seven League, he was more difficult.

RF: In what sense was he difficult?

LK: He was arrogant and didn't allow any discussions. He laid down the law when you had to produce a film you couldn't discuss it with him, that you thought this cut would be better than the other one. He had a partner, I don't know if she was his Pamela or whether she was his partner, in life or just in Seven Leagues Production, who was just as difficult as he was. The couple of them were not easy to get on with. Dmitri de Grunwald was a great charmer. He just was charming, it wasn't that he would switch the charm on and off , he was invariably lovely to be with. He was a great gambler, I think that was his downfall in the end. Whether he was jealous or resentful of Anatole[xlii], his very well known brother, I don't know, he preferred not to talk about him, that's where my thinking of envy comes in, he preferred not to mention him.

RF: Did you know Tolly?

LK: Only once or twice, I didn't know him, I met him but I didn't know him, but with Dimitri I stayed for quite a long while,

RF: What sort of films was he making other than the commercials

LK: I only cut the commercials

RF: And they presumably were for cinema

LK: Surrey? Surrey? Does that mean anything?

RF: Yes there was a Sarralut[xliii], I don't know much about his work, Sarralut

LK: He did the films and in France that I cut for....

RF: George, was it George

LK: Andrei. I cant remember it will probably come up

RF: Traceable I'm sure, now we know it Sarralut

LK: They were charming those early commercials, when I remember them they were absolutely delightful, line drawings like Hoffman and they were absolutely charming.

RF: But for cinema or......

LK: For cinema, for cinema, for cinema

RF: There was no commercial television yet presumably?

LK: Well there must have been, that's why I mentioned the words first commercials because I cant remember commercials before. These were all commercials and for cinema. There were seven, maybe I'm exaggerating the number as seven was an easy number to remember. There were seven brothers in Somerset who produced cider, Babycham, Andrei – it must have been Andrei as I said it like that, did a lot of their commercials for Babycham, which these seven brothers in Somerset produced.

RF: That does sound like television then doesn't it

LK: Yes

MH: Which year were you thinking of in terms of the cider ones?

LK: In the '50s

RF: Well ITV came in in '55

LK: But some of the films which I cut the roll were for cinemas because I used to drag my friends to various horrible films to show them the film I cut as commercials, some of them were in cinemas under general release and that was in the '50s. And then came a period when I left freelancing because I was starting a family and I found it very difficult to freelance because unless you are around with the boys and have a drink, you don't get the work, it petered out.

RF: You'd married into the business or not

LK: No., I married a doctor and so in the '50s I took a break, not a very long one and then changed my profession totally, I went into education.

RF: As a teacher?

LK: I started as a teacher in Sydney Webb College, which was a college for mature students which was rather nice because one didn't have to compete with youngsters. Sydney Webb College was part of the London University and I qualified as a teacher, then did 2 years at Church of England school, Burdett-Coutts[xliv], famous banker school and then perhaps because of my medical contacts with my husband, I started to qualify in the autistic world. I did my dissertation on education in hospitals and then worked at Marlborough Day Hospital which had an autistic unit for autistic children which I turned into a teaching unit and I stayed there for some years. Then I went back to London University for the diploma in the education of handicapped children and then I took over, it was the highlight of my entire career I think, I took over a school which was run, was owned, by the National Autistic Society and I became the principal and I stayed there about a dozen years. It was a big school, in Ealing,

RF: There was very considerable change in direction, did you miss the film industry?

LK: Yes oh terribly, I had withdrawal symptoms the same as you would with alcohol and so on, I used to miss the smell of the cutting room terribly. I mean the first years were difficult, difficult, difficult but I tried when the children were very small, but I was always away when they were at home on holidays, its an impossible situation, 3 months in the summer when everybody was at home from school, I was in the studio so it became very difficult so I did what a lot of women do, went into the teaching profession as the life is the same as the

children's, so that was reason why I changed. The fact that I went over to the autistic world was as I said, because of the medical ... and I was at home in hospitals and so on

RF: Did your children have any desire to go into films?

LK: No, into films no, one of my sons is in the media he's a radio man, he establishes new radio stations and so on so he's in the media and we have quite a bit in common. No the others are not. I've got an architect son and my daughter is in publishing, book publishing

RF: An interesting set of children by the sound of it

LK: Yes they are interesting

RF: After the war did you have any desire to re-establish contact with central Europe? Your family, parts of your family, sound as if they were in the Holocaust

LK: Yes. No, as I said it was amazing and I totally adopted the British way of life, whatever that may mean as I said before, I think in English, I write in English, English is my language and I'm at home here. I cant imagine having lived my life anywhere else other, I would want to. I don't know how it happened but this is where I belong.

RF: Occasionally with other people there are tugs from the roots aren't there. A curiosity if nothing else. I was curious as probably the Polish Film School was the best of the central European film schools

LK: Yes and I've got friends who spent years at the Polish Film School yes it was probably the best. I think it probably still is, it's a remarkable school. No, I didn't and and when, it took me years to organise, when I took all my children back to show them where I came from, only a few years ago, it was interesting but I didn't feel any emotional pull that I would have wanted to have come back so it was in a way a good thing that we went because it cleared the decks for me after all these years. No I did not want to go back.

RF: Did you go back under the communist regime or after the change?

LK: No, after

RF: Well it must have been a revelation for your children

LK: Yes it was and because it was a family holiday some of the emotional traumatic feeling lifted, was a family holiday, we laughed a lot, there was one...I wanted to show them a beautiful city besides Warsaw because Warsaw was rather horrible and not nice at all. Danzig of course is a beautiful city, they rebuilt it beautifully, beautifully, I don't understand why a communist regime would want to build up an old Hanseatic city, it doesn't make sense to me at all. But they did, they did, to the last stone, the town hall, I remember every stair in it, amazing how they've done that

RF: Happened in Dresden too and in some of the old palaces in Berlin

LK: Yes. But why a Polish communist regime would want to do that remains a mystery to me and then we went to Warsaw, because my husband comes originally from Warsaw and they have rebuilt the old part of the city aswell, nowhere near as nice as Danzig and I don't think I'm prejudiced but nowhere near as nice so being there I wanted to show them one beautiful city so we went to Krakow. With Krakow I had no connection with except it was an old capital of Poland and its beautiful, perhaps not as beautiful as Prague, I haven't been to Prague, but its a beautiful, beautiful old city so being in Krakow we did, out of respect, I wanted to go to Auschwitz, the concentration camp, much to my amazement all of my children came with us did not expect them to as its not something the young generation would want to do, one becomes more interested in these things as one grows older but all three came and we spent a day at Auschwitz which as you can imagine was traumatic.

RF: Yes its not possible for someone who was not involved to fully understand that, I mean it is beyond belief

LK: It is beyond belief and I could not go to all parts of the camp, I did not go to the gas chambers, I just could not bring myself to do that. My children went, I was absolutely amazed and I had great respect for them that all 3 went

RF: How do they see themselves? As wholly English-British?

LK: They consider themselves British of Polish origin and I only hope there won't ever be a conflict between them, but they are, one of them, my middle son, has married an English girl, a very English girl,

RF: And you went back to your roots, in a sense, to find your husband?

LK: Yes that was sheer coincidence, it could have been somebody from any country, it just happened I fetched my mother once after a bridge party and there he was, so it was sheer coincidence, it wasn't that I was looking for my roots, that's how it happened.

RF: Well we have about 2 minutes on this tape, is there any subject we've glossed over or that we haven't touched on?

LK: I don't think so, I didn't mention the Polish Army Film Unit during the war, I mentioned that all the material seems to have disappeared. Vanished, although that was the same with many other films and information and I don't think we've really not touched...

RF: Mary has a thought

MH: As we have a minute or so, could we hear about the film, I remember watching it, the one you got the award for.

LK: That was for Anthony Simmons[xlv]who is quite well known

RF: At Harlequin

LK: At Harlequin and I cut two of his films, both of which got the first prize at Cannes but they were shorts

RF: Which were they?

LK: “Sunday By The Sea” and “Bow Bells”. And they got first prize at the Cannes Festival.

RF: Tony was then quite a young man?

LK: Yes he was quite a young man

RF: He's still around

LK: Oh yes

RF: Do you still see him?

LK: Oh yes I do, yes I do, yes, he's still around, he has only made a few big films and he had a one man show at the National Film Theatre about 2 years ago, he works occasionally for the BBC, he's just come back from Hollywood but he hasn't made any films in this country for some years.

RF: Well unfortunately that's true of so many English film-makers

LK: The first film I remember he made was Four in the Morning, with Judi Dench, and I think it was Judi's first film that she ever did for Tony. Yes I cut a lot of his films, I'd forgotten about getting the first prize at Cannes, you reminded me Mary

RF: Mary, anything else that we've not touched on

MH: No I think you've covered it very well, I cant think of anything else.

RF: We'll conclude with our best thanks, it occurs to me that maybe we should send a copy of this to the Polish Film Archive, would that be OK with you?

LK: Yes that would be very, very, very nice . There's also somebody who I've mentioned who should receive some thanks and she would be quite happy perhaps have a copy and that is the niece of Themerson where I got some of the material from

RF: OK, well give us her address and we'll make sure she gets a copy

LK: Because her aunt and uncle were such remarkable people, she catalogued it so beautifully, I wouldn't have had these dates which I mentioned without her help

RF: You did say before you had written an account for the Imperial War Museum

LK: Yes

RF: But you haven't done a recording for them?

LK: No

RF: There again that might be something they would like to have

LK: I haven't done a recording for them, I couldn't translate...I wrote that in English, the account, but I've also given them an enormous amount of material in Polish and Russian and German, which I couldn't translate, I was too emotionally involved, but they said when their representative comes back from Poland, it will be translated and they'll be in touch with me. I've also been in touch with the Shoah Foundation, Spielberg's....though I'm not a survivor,

I'm not a true refugee in that sense, I wondered if they are looking for interviewees, so I've given my name and they said they'll be in touch with me

RF: Well Lusia, thankyou very much for an interesting and insightful interview – I think unique amongst those we've done. Thankyou very much indeed

LK: Thankyou

[i]In the book by Mira Ryczke Kimmelman “Echoes from the Holocaust: A Memoir”, there is a brief description of Lusia and her sister Janka's journey. Mira had known both sisters at school. “They had escaped to Warsaw in September, while their parents had managed to leave for England before the outbreak of war. Now they seemed trapped in Warsaw. Later however, their parents paid someone to struggle the two sisters out of Poland. Travelling through Austria and Hungary, they were reunited with their parents in England in the summer of 1940”

[ii]Research required

[iii]Denham Studios was founded by Alexander Korda and operated from 1936 to 1952, after which they were merged with Rank's Pinewood Studios. Before this they were known as London Film Studios and after the merger was known as D&P Studios.

[iv]Eugene Cenkalski – Checking the name, it appears to be spelt Eugene Cekalski, who was born 1906 in Russia and died 1952 in Prague. He was a director, writer, producer, cinematographer, editor and sound engineer throughout his career, spanning from the 1920s to the 1950s.

[v]This appears to be Lieutenant-General Wladyslaw Anders (1892-1970) who was in the Polish army during the war and was later a politician with the Polish Government in exile in London. Further research is required to confirm a link between Anders exiled to Scotland, however Polish forces did stay in Scotland. See below.

[vi]Possibly this refers to Barony Castle, Eddleston. Polish forces stayed here during the war.

[vii]Research required, cannot find a reference to this address [viii]Research required

[ix]Wladyslaw Sikorski during World War Two, became the Prime Minister of the Polish Government in Exile, Commander in chief of the Polish Armed Forces. He attempted to re-establish diplomatic relations with Russia, but this was broken off by Stalin when Sikorski asked for the Katyn Forest massacre to be investigated. He died in July 1943, his plane crashed over Gibraltar. This killed all on board except the pilot and was subject to many conspiracy theories .

[x]Stefan Themerson was born in Plock, Poland in 1910 and died in London in 1988. He write in Polish, French and English and came to live in England in 1942. He re-enlisted in the Polish Army and was stationed in Scotland – see note above. He was sent to join the film unit of the Ministry of Information and Documentation in London, where he made two films with his wife.

[xi]Stefan Osiecki, born Warsaw 1902 and died London in 1977. [xii]Research required

[xiii]Sir Harold Malcolm Watts Sargent (1895-1967) was a conductor, organist and composer. At the outbreak of war, Sargent came back to Britain from Australia as he felt it was his duty. He completed concert tours across the country to boost public morale. He was knighted in 1947

[xiv]James McKechnie (1911-1964) was an actor in various types of productions, and was a narrator for The Eye and The Ear and A City Reborn in 1945.

[xv]Born Graham Montague Jeffries in 1900 in London and died in 1982. He was a writer, including The Eye and the Ear and A Polish Sailor (documentary short 1943)

[xvi]Derek De Marney ( 1906-1978) was an actor and producer. He founded Concanen Productions with his brother Terence and producing wartime documentaries on the Polish Air Force including The White Eagle and Diary of a Polish Airman (1942)

[xvii]Concanen Productions was founded by Derek and Terence De Marney and produced films and documentaries between 1940 and 1955.

[xviii]Produced in England in 1944, The Eye and the Ear was a short film using four songs from the cycle Slopiewnie by Karol Szymanowski. It was experimental and based on the analysis of transposing sound into image.

[xix]The Themersons produced Calling Mr Smith, a propaganda film aimed at the British citizens. Mr Smith is an average Briton who turns a blind eye to German atrocities for his own peace of mind.

[xx]This is Poland (1941) a documentary short, directed by Cekalski and narrated by Terence and Derek De Marney,

[xxi]Research required

[xxii]Cineguild was founded by Anthony Havelock-Allan, who invited David Lean and Ronald Neame to form the production company.

[xxiii]Pressberger (1902-1988) and Powell (1905-1990) worked together under the name The Archers. They produced a series of classic British films.

[xxiv]  Wolfgang Suschitzky ( see interview 66)

[xxv]Walter Lassally (1926-) A German born British cinematographer, working on British and international films for over 50 years.

[xxvi]A British film company founded in 1937, with the original plans to operate in London and Rome. During the 1940s Two Cities became part of Rank Organisation.

[xxvii]Filippo Del Giudice was the Italian force behind Two Cities Films

[xxviii]After research, this appears to be Antoni Slonimski (1895-1976), a Polish poet, journalist, playwright, and prose writer. He spent the war years in exile and returned to Poland in 1951.

[xxix]John Grierson (1898-1972) was a Scottish documentary maker, rumoured to have coined the term documentary, meaning non-fiction film.

[xxx]Ernest Borneman (1915-1995) was a writer, film-maker, anthropologist, Jazz musician and critic, and many other things. He was interned during the war, and then was released to join the BBC and made various film projects, including one with Orson Welles.

[xxxi]Julian Huxley (1887-1975) zoologist, first Director of UNESCO and founder of the WWF.

[xxxii]Ken Cameron (1915-) recorded sound for numerous documentaries, propaganda and short films, produced by the Crown Film Unit.

[xxxiii]According to an interview with Walter Lassally, Basic Films produced Government information films.

[xxxiv]Research required

[xxxv]Basil Wright (1907-1987) was a documentary filmmaker, film historian, film critic and teacher.

[xxxvi]Lindsay Anderson was born in 1923 in India. He started as a film critic and then became a film director. He made a film called Trunk Conveyor in 1952 for the National Coal Board.

[xxxvii]Dimitri De Grunwald (1914-1990) was a producer of various films.

[xxxviii]Leon Clore (1918-1992) worked for the Crown Film Unit and then Basic Films. He formed his own company Graphic Films and worked for various other film companies for various works.

[xxxix]John Schlesinger (1926-2003) was an English film and stage director and actor.

[xl]Karel Reisz (1926-2002) was a Czech born British filmmaker.

[xli]HansNeiter wasaproducer, edito rand writer who made various documentaries

[xlii]Anatole “Tolly” De Grunwald (1910-1967) worked as a screenwriter, later becoming a producer. He was Managing Director for Two Cities Films and later formed a production company with his brother Dimitri.

[xliii]Research required

[xliv]The school was founded by Angela Burdett-Coutts in the 1840s, originally to provide education to the poor. It was founded in memory of her father Sir Burdett.

[xlv]Anthony Simmons was born in 1922. Simmons wrote and directed Bow Bells (1954). It was a sequel to Sunday by the Sea. Sunday by the Sea (1953) won the Grand Prix at the Venice Film Festival. Judi Dench won a BAFTA for her role in Four in the Morning (1965).


Lusia Krakowska was born in 1924 in Danzig. She and her jewish family fled from the Nazis in 1938. In the book by Mira Ryczke Kimmelman “Echoes from the Holocaust: A Memoir”, there is a brief description of Lusia and her sister Janka's journey. They  escaped to Warsaw in September, while their parents had managed to leave for England before the outbreak of war. Now they seemed trapped in Warsaw. Later however, their parents paid someone to smuggle the two sisters out of Poland. Travelling through Austria and Hungary, they were reunited with their parents in England in the summer of 1940. Lusia went on to join the Polish Film Unit at Denham Studios. She became a documentary film editor. In 1953 she  worked with director on Anthony Simmon's  the Venice film festival grand prix winning   documentary "Summer By The Sea" which captured working-class Londoners’ ritual of taking the train to Southend for a cheap and cheerful summer’s day out. Its images were accompanied by cockney music-hall songs, a technique they  replicated in Bow Bells (1954), an evocation of Simmon's own East End childhood – a ship gliding down the Thames, Billingsgate fish market, terraced houses, allotments, rubbish-strewn streets and gasworks. ( See Anthony Simmon's interview 420)