A short conversation with Karolina Konicka, the actress playing the role of Berta Korennman
Karolino, you are a student at the Academy of Dramatic Art*, not so long ago you have left Nowy Sącz for the academy. Did you hear the story of Berta and about what happened to the Jewish population of the city during the war when you were still studying in Nowy Sącz?
I was told about the fate of the Jewish population more than once, either in history lessons or at family home. I did not hear the story of Berta before. And it is a pity, because only after I started working on the film and I tried to learn her story I was reminded that the tragedy of a million was a tragedy of individuals and their families, which is unfortunately easy to forget.
Was it a challenge for you to take on the role of Berta? Did you feel connected to this character?
I knew that Berta deserves a story about her to be beautifully told. I really wanted her character to echo, and for every viewer to think about Berta when they were to look at the town hall tower in Nowy Sącz. I think it is safe to say that we have become friends with Berta Korennman and every time I will return where I am from I will also be back to my thoughts about Berta. And was this character a challenge for me? Of course it was. But I hope for more challenges like this.
Which scene was the hardest for you?
Definitely the scene in which Berta and her family are to put on a band with the star of David. When I held this piece of fabric in my hands, I felt scared, I knew it was impossible to imagine the kind of horror that had to be felt by the Jewish people then and to perform that in that scene. So I looked at Mr Jan Korwin Kochanowski, who played Berta’s dad, and I thought of the fear for a family member, because after all, the loss of a loved one was as painful in the past, as it is painful now. And somehow I got it.
* Karolina studies at the Aleksander Zelwerowicz National Academy of Dramatic Art in Warsaw, Białystok branch