Documentary will delve into former palace turned home for WWII children

Potocki Palace

Potocki Palace - Credit: Supplied by Olivia Jarvis

During the Second World War, a Polish teacher was about to be executed by the Gestapo, but when he survived, he promised himself that he would create a home for every child that survived the war. 

This man was Stanislaw Jedleski and students at the University of Hertfordshire will reveal more about him and the children, who lived at Potocki Palace, in 'My Hundreds of Brothers and Sisters'. 

Stanislaw, an anti-fascist, recalled his imprisonment during the war in Lublin Castle: “From the large hall I was imprisoned they were taking men to be shot. I couldn’t watch it. I couldn’t watch it.

"I was thinking about their families. From then, I told myself that if I survived, I would give myself to all those whose parents did not survive the war.”

Olivia Jarvis, a final year student and the producer of the film, explained how they will cover Stanislaw's story after the war and the orphanage he started. 

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She said: "We are so lucky to be able to tell this story because a lot of the people who went to the orphanage are now in their 80s and the palace itself is abandoned.

"We will be going to Poland at the beginning of May to film and it will be finished by the end of June. We have an amazing composer Johnathon Deering working with us to create the score too so that’s so exciting."

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The orphanage, known as the PZWN, was created by the Polish State Department of Education in 1946 and located just outside Krakow. 

"The war affected families greatly, some children losing their family members and some being sent to the palace because their mothers couldn’t support their children in the war torn country," Olivia explained. 

"Many children were helped here of all ages and from all backgrounds. There were teachers, librarians, everyone that worked there lived in the house with the children. Around 30 workers and 300 children at the start. 

"Stanislawa Key lost both her parents by the age of 14, she told us  'I was very sad, they took me to my aunties flat and I stayed there for two days. And then she left me so no one was looking after me. There was my mother's husband but he didn't care much about me. And my brother was in the army so he was not with me. So they took me to the Palace'.” 

For many like, Stanislawa, now a PE teacher, this was an opportunity to learn. 

"She later met her Welsh husband and moved to England in her early 20s. She has not been back to Potocki Palace for over 60 years so we look forward to capturing her reaction when we travel back there in May 2021. Stanislawa is also the director's Adele’s grandmother making this story and film much more personal."

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