‘Three Minutes’: Street scenes show Jewish life before Holocaust

David Kurtz’s three minutes of footage in 1938 show Jewish residents of Nasielsk, Poland, before the Holocaust. Credit: YouTube.

Writer Glenn Kurtz made an amazing discovery in 2009: Among his grandfather David’s 16 millimeter home movies were three minutes of footage he took while traveling through a small village in Poland in 1938. The village, called Nasielsk, was home to some 7,000 residents. Half of them were Jewish. 

The footage David Kurtz captured mainly consisted of street scenes, such as people leaving the synagogue or the grocery store. As he panned across the homes and businesses, young people eagerly crowded in front of the camera. By the end of World War II, less than 100 of the village’s Jewish residents survived. 

The poignant tape of happy people who didn’t know what would happen a few years later is the basis of a new documentary called “Three Minutes: A Lengthening.” Directed by Bianca Stigter, the film follows Kurtz as he dives deeper into the footage and who’s in it.