FINDING FATE follows the lives of three mothers in Poland, and their shared quest to be strong for their families and help others struggling under the shadow of the recent war in Ukraine. Nastia, a Ukrainian refugee, was forced to flee her home with her five-year-old daughter. Now in Poland, she battles to find a new “normal” as she vows to keep her child safe. Anna, a Polish mother, finds herself haunted by Poland’s conflicted past. She feels compelled to help those escaping Ukraine, and she shelters a mother with nowhere to go. And finally, Marzena, a Jewish, Polish, single mother, who’s entire family was murdered by the Nazis is motivated to help because of her family’s past. She sees the plight of her Jewish ancestors as occurring once again. Maybe this time, she can help them survive. The ferocity with which these mothers fight to protect their children and families gives the viewer a rare glimpse of how powerful the maternal spirit is during a time of war. By valuing each other's histories and current realities, FINDING FATE reveals that when we find common ground, we can unite to help build a shared future.
Credits and citation support are not available for this title yet.
A MARC record for this title is not available yet.
Distributor subjectsRefugees; Motherhood; War; Poland; Ukraine; Jewish Heritage
Nastia: We thought that we can be masters of our future. I don't know if it's correct to think about future nowadays. We still don't know what will happen in next three days, What will happen in next week, months, year. We had plans. We had countries that we want to visit, but war started.
Vasilisa: This is for you. I drew the moth myself.
Nastia: Very beautiful. How to say it? Ćma, right?
Vasilisa: [foreign language]
Nastia: [foreign language] But a moth is ćma in Polish, right?
Vasilisa: I'm going to grandmother's to eat. Okay?
Nastia: All right. Thanks. So many people, their destinies was destroyed. Even those who are alive, they are broken from inside. When war started, we woke up from the sound of explosion. We decided in this first hour to move to western part of Ukraine. My husband goes straight to her room and he said, "You can take few your favorite toys," and "We're going to some journey." She didn't cry. She's 5 years old. I'm telling her what's happening, what's happening in our city now, and how it started. It's Russian who came to us and they started war here, and they kill us because we are Ukrainians.
Vasilisa: I came here when there was war. From Ukraine.
Nastia: Yesterday, it was crazy. The part of cluster bomb fell on our yard, on the square where kids playing. When I see the part of the bomb on the place where my daughter played [cries]-- [foreign language] Actually, these are vouchers for free food. This restaurant, BENTO [crosstalk]-
Vasilisa: [foreign language]
Nastia: [foreign language] -they came to us and gave food vouchers because they do free-- Vasilisa, what are you doing? Vasunya, you were going to go, weren't you?
Vasilisa: [foreign language]
Nastia: [foreign language] It's every time with kids, you just need to try to save them from [chuckles]-- I don't talk too much to Polish people because I don't know Polish, but they're very nice and kind to us. For example, my landlord, she gave me so much clothes for me, for my daughter. It's priceless.
Anna: The border is so close. It's only 12, 13 km from this town. It was very cold. It was snowing. Every night, I was looking at my baby sleeping in a cozy place, in a warm place. When I was thinking of those women standing on the border walking in that freezing cold, I kept crying all the time. For two, three weeks, I kept crying all the time. There were times when they were waiting to cross the border for three, four days. If the husband could take them to the border, there was a stop where they couldn't go further because men cannot leave Ukraine. There were nights that their kids froze to death and we couldn't do anything about it.
After the very first shock, we decided that we had to help. There is war, so we must do something. Jasiu, come here to your mom. Hi, little one. Why did you cry? You are tired. Come here. With my husband, we decided that the easiest for us would be to take a woman with a baby because our son is almost two years old, so we've got everything at home for the baby. Clothes, equipment, toys, everything is here. Everything is ready. I only had to arrange the second bed, which I posted on Facebook in our very local town group that "Hey, guys, I need a bed." After one hour, I had five offers.
Then I found Ola, a girl from Zhytomyr. It's a city near Kyiv, so from eastern Ukraine. She decided to escape with her two children when the first bombs fell near their house and she desperately needed a place to stay. We talked a lot and it was really nice. Well, noisy, I must say, with more kids. The government is boasting that we have no refugees camps. Yes, but it's Polish private people who do that. We take them homes. We help them. We buy them clothes. We buy them food. We buy them everything.
Zdzisław Zadworny: I've been a mayor for 20 years. Some people say I've been a mayor for too long. Our family mainly cultivates crops. We don't have any livestock. When it comes to my ancestry, I am from here. My parents and grandparents are also from this area. We are kind of a little laboratory, where all the historical turmoil concentrated. Cieszanów is a typical border town. And it was always like that in history. If you look closely on the horizon, you can see a forest. These trees belong to Ukraine. The windows trembled, and we saw the bombing afterglow.
As a former Ukrainian territory, we've had difficult times due to Polish-Ukrainian conflicts. [music]
Zdzisław: I am amazed by the amount of help that we offer Ukrainians today. People are not affected by our turbulent past. They are indifferent to it. It is a challenge not to forget that the war continues. It is a challenge to keep helping.
Jonathan Ornstein: Good morning, Vasilisa.
Vasilisa: [foreign language]
Jonathan: How are you? Hello. I say hello to you. How are you? Are you better today? But you didn't go to kindergarten. I hope you will go there on Monday. You should go back. You can't play with your grandma all day. Behind me, we have Ukrainians that are waiting in line to come into our free store, which has been operating since the beginning of the war. These people have nowhere to go. If we say they have to leave, then they're going to be homeless.
Marzena: Yesterday, my ex-husband gave me this cake. I don't know why [laughs]. Maybe he loves me [laughs]. Since the war broke out, I haven't met a single man from Ukraine. I don't know how these women cope with it. I remember the day the war started in Ukraine. I remember the emotions that I and my children felt. I thought this is the moment when I can do something to help who are in such a tragic situation.
I am especially touched by the loneliness of those children who have only a small backpack in their rooms and a handful of toys. So I decided, but it was also completely spontaneous to surprise them in a way that they would not know who it was. In the evening when they are asleep, I just bring them their gifts and leave them at the door, and go home. I can imagine their joy when they open the door and it makes me happy when I come home knowing that I changed at least one child's day.
Maks: Ever since this war started, my mom told me about Russia wanting to get Ukraine to have a bigger area, that Ukraine to be a Russian area. In gymnastics, I forget about those bad things. I already have two Ukrainian friends and they started practicing gymnastics with me. I try to help them to forget about the war for a while.
Marzena: Every day when I see women and children at the JCC, I wonder if I were in their shoes, what would I want to be wearing, and I try to organize these things so that the women feel comfortable. I have to be there for these people. I think that's my moral obligation.
Nastia: For now, no, I don't want to go back because, first of all, it's very dangerous. It's not about only that they are destroying houses, they rape our women, they rape old men, old women. They say, "We will rape your kids as hard that when they will be women, they couldn't do Ukrainian kids." Even those who are alive, even the lucky people like me, we are still crying in the nights because there is no word that can explain what we feel.
Speaker: All songs that I play today are inspired by Ukrainian folklore about very old Ukrainian rituals.
Nastia: It's music, a guy is playing. Would you like to go look?
Nastia: We are from Mykolaiv. I came to my parents and I said, "Take your clothes, take your stuff, and come with us." They said, "No, nothing will happen. Nothing serious will be happened, so we're staying."
Viktoria: My husband didn't want to leave. I was barely able to persuade him that it was necessary because Mykolaiv is very dangerous now. And right in the middle of the day, with no sirens, people are standing at the bus stop, and a cluster bomb drops. We can just die right next to the house, at the bus stop, and there will be no one to bury us. Say that we arrived, but we can't sit still.
Nastia: They came but they can't sit calm. They come here. They help. They volunteer.
Viktoria: Dad goes there every day.
Nastia: My father come every day on work.
Vasilisa: Grandpa is volunteering. He arranges clothes for the refugees.
Viktoria: I don't know when this war will end. I feel everything around is falling apart.
Nastia: Maybe she is being too emotional but she constantly is thinking about the war. Even she is in safe place, with mind, she's still in Mykolaiv.
Viktoria: I was born in Mykolaiv. [chuckles] I need to hold onto something. If you're going to open a business, then we will help you, of course.
Nastia: My business in Ukraine, in Mykolaiv, I produced vegan desserts and vegan food. We wanted to buy one house, to repair it, to make it cool modern kitchen with some place where you can come, drink coffee, buy desserts, but it will never happen.
Anna: Mama. My grandma was from what is now in Ukraine because she was born before war, so now, this area belongs to Ukraine. [foreign language] Ukraine is so close. It's our physical neighbors. I think we are just helping. We can see all the terrible things that people are doing to other people and it's something we want to say no to.
Zdzisław: Polish and Ukrainian families mixed together. And until World War II, there weren't any conflicts. We had three nations, Ukrainians, Jews, and Poles. And only one is left. All the Jewish population from here is gone.
Marzena: I can't think about the fact that no one helped my Jewish family, how hard it was for them. My great-grandmother had 13 children. Almost all of them died in the Holocaust. The fact that I am here today and that I am sitting here is a result of the luck that befell my grandfather, who as a 9-year-old boy escaped from the hands of the Nazis. How lucky they would have been if they had met Poles in those days, who today have this awareness, this courage, this willingness to help. I want all the more to show them that even though I have a Jewish background, they are just people like me. They have the same heart. They have the same needs.
Throughout my adulthood, I've had a quote that whoever saves one life, saves the whole world. Every day, I try to function normally. We go to work, school, gymnastics, but I am a single mother of four, and when the whole family is asleep at night, I would like someone to give me an assurance that this conflict will not spread to other countries. Poland is next door after all. It's terrifying. I wouldn't choose to have so many children knowing that they would come to live in such a world. I'm full of anxiety. What will happen to my children?Where will we run away to?
Nastia: We're trying to start a new life here. During the day, we're smiling to each other, we're smiling to Poles, we are laughing, but when we come to home and read news, we're like-- We don't know what to do. We are pretending to living life, pretending to be alive.
Vasilisa: Mom, are you going to pick the long one for me?
Nastia: The big balloon?
Nastia: We will do the best for our daughter. I want that she knows that now she is safe. I don't know about future, but for Vasilisa, for sure, we will make it as safe as possible.