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Film / With Hands Raised

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With Hands Raised (Z podniesionymi rękami) is a 1985 short film (6 1/2 minutes) from Poland, directed by Mitko Panov.

It is inspired by the iconic "Warsaw Ghetto Boy" picture, taken by an unknown member of the SS in 1943. The original photo, part of the infamous "Stroop Report" depicted Jewish survivors being forced out of a bunker in the ghetto after the Germans had crushed the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. The photo centers around a boy of perhaps six, being marched down a street at the head of a group of survivors, with his hands up. An SS trooper in the background is pointing a gun at the boy.

There is no live-action footage of the ghetto uprising, but this film portrays the photo as a still from film footage. As a cameraman turns the crank on a tripod film camera, a terrified boy is marched down the street. Fate takes a hand, however, when a gust of wind blows off the boy's hat.



  • Art Imitates Art: A short film inspired by the "Warsaw Ghetto boy" photo. There's even a freeze frame where the actors are posed in the same way as the photo.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Shot in black-and-white and not particularly crisp, in a manner suggesting an old newsreel camera.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Without even really meaning to, the boy escapes the roundup. The life expectancy of a child alone in the ruins of the Warsaw Ghetto probably wouldn't have been very high, but in the movie the boy is tossing his cap in the air after escaping.
  • Silence Is Golden: A silent film, with no ambient noise, only a soundtrack.
  • Survivorship Bias: In real life the child in the photo was almost certainly gassed in Treblinka or Majdanek. But this movie has him escaping, by accident, when he chases after his hat and none of the guards notice.


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