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The screening of “The Unconquered” in Canada – project summary

Over 800 students from Polish schools in Canada have seen “The Unconquered”- a film produced upon the initiative of the Institute of National Remembrance. The efforts of the Polish Consulate General in Toronto and the Polish Teachers' Association in Canada, under the patronage of the IPN, were joined by schools from Toronto, Scarborough, Mississauga, Oakville, Milton, Hamilton, Oshawa and Kitchener. The film was screened as part of history lessons, school assemblies and meetings with veterans. School directors and teachers also organized lectures accompanying the screening, touching upon such topics as the Katyń Massacre, the Battle of Monte Cassino and the Warsaw Uprising.

The screening of the film aroused great interest among both students and teachers. Jolanta Wójtowicz, Director of the Stanislaw Staszic Polish School in Scarborough, emphasizes the value of the project in shaping the identity of children and youth from the Polish community – “The Unconquered” also made a huge impression on us teachers. We watched it numerously, each time being equally moved, proud of our heritage and the fact of belonging to such a brave nation. For our students “The Unconquered” is a story about courage, sacrifice, perseverance and heroism. The film appeals to students thanks to great graphics, narration and fast action. Their parents have enrooted patriotism and a love of everything that is Polish in the young generation. We, teachers continue this work by showing them certain important aspects: we present the beauty of Poland, the students’ mother tongue, history and traditions - she says.

As the Consul General Krzysztof Grzelczyk emphasized, the film "The Unconquered” is an excellent form of familiarizing the Polish-Canadian youth with Polish history. Perfectly made, it is an attractive supplement to history lessons, encouraging young people to learn more about their roots, giving them the opportunity to gain reliable knowledge needed to represent Poland in Canada, e.g. in discussions, or on the international arena- he concludes.

Teresa Szramek, the Vice-President of the Polish Teachers' Association in Canada is of a similar opinion. She emphasizes the significance of cooperation with the Institute of National Remembrance and her gratitude for materials related to teaching the latest history of Poland received from the IPN - The film aroused great interest among both teachers and students. Its advantage is the fact that key moments of Polish history are presented in a manner which appeals to the young generation. Short, but very meaningful in its content, it appealed to our students. The subtitles in English were very helpful. The project "The Unconquered” should be repeated in the autumn, and this excellent film ought to be watched not only by students of Polish-American schools in Canada, but also by adults, members of many Polish diaspora organizations – she sums up.

The project was carried out from April to May this year. Information about the initiative was forwarded to all Polish schools registered in the Polish Teachers' Association in Canada. In the autumn of this year, it is planned to reach even more institutions, as well as to be expanded to Polish diaspora organizations.

The undertaking is the fruit of arrangements made between Krzysztof Grzelczyk - Polish Consul General in Toronto and Jan Baster - Deputy President of the Institute of National Remembrance during the visit of the Institute's delegation to Canada in February 2018. It is also connected with the cooperation agreement concluded between the Institute of National Remembrance and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 26 June 2017.

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