The Labyrinth is the recipient of the following awards, prizes and honors: Grand Prix (2011 Magnificat Film Festival; Minsk, Belarus); Best Short Documentary (2011 Ventura Film Festival); two 2011 Silver Telly Awards (use of music and cinematography);
“I built Auschwitz…because I arrived in the first transport.” Memory, art and hell collide as an Auschwitz survivor finally confronts the horrors of his past after 50 years of silence. Marian Kolodziej, prisoner number 432, was 17 and on one of the first transports to enter Auschwitz on June 14, 1940. Kolodziej, a Polish Catholic, survived five years imprisonment and never spoke of his experience until after a serious stroke in 1993. He began physical rehabilitation by doing pen and ink drawings depicting his memories of that horrific experience at Auschwitz 50 years earlier.
Kolodziej’s drawings and art installations, which he called The Labyrinth, fill the large basement of a church near Auschwitz. In The Labyrinth, Kolodziej takes the audience on a journey through his drawings and art installations. Through the blending of his testimony and graphic drawings, we explore the memories and nightmares that were buried for years. The documentary is eyewitness testimony to the horrors of Auschwitz that is unique in the annals of documenting the Holocaust. Marian Koldziej’s story of survival and persistence, of life before, during, and after Auschwitz is a testament to courage, the power of faith and the resilience of the human spirit.
Marian Kolodziej, former Auschwitz Concentration Camp prisoner number 432, was born in Raszków, Poland on December 6, 1921. After the Nazi invasion of Poland in September 1939, he joined the ZWZ (Union of Armed Struggle). On May 14, 1940,
while preparing to illegally cross the Polish border he was arrested in Krakow and imprisoned. He was transferred to Auschwitz Concentration Camp in the first transport, on June 14, 1940. In the camp, he was assigned to various labor details. After falling ill, he was transferred to a sub-camp outside of Auschwitz, where he made clandestine copies of blueprints of the armaments factory for the resistance movement. He was sentenced to death for this, sent back to Auschwitz and confined to a basement cell in Block No.11 and miraculously escaped death. He survived there until the end of 1944, when he was transferred to Gross-Rosen as part of the Nazi evacuation of the camps,
also known as the “death march.” He was subsequently moved to Buchenwald, Germany then to Mauthausen, Austria, where he was liberated on May 6, 1945.
Returning to Poland, Kolodziej enrolled at the Fine Arts Academy in Krakow and graduated with a degree in stage design. As his artistic career developed, he went to work at the "Coast" theatre in Gdansk as a stage designer. He also designed sets and costumes for other theatres and films in Poland and abroad. He never returned to his
camp experiences in either his stage designs or his art. After nearly fifty years of silence,
Kolodziej suffered a debilitating stroke in 1993. During his rehabilitation, he asked to be given a pencil and he began to draw images of his memories of his time in the camps. He died October 13, 2009.
The Labyrinth is written, directed, edited and produced by award-winning documentary filmmaker Jason A. Schmidt who co-directed and co-produced Franz Jägerstätter:
The Labyrinth Producer Ron Schmidt, SJ is a Jesuit priest and award-winning international documentary filmmaker whose films include: Franz Jägerstätter:
The Labyrinth creative team also includes 2-time Academy Award-winning film editor Arthur Schmidt (Forrest Gump and Who Framed Roger Rabbit) as Executive Producer and Gregory J. Schmidt, SOC as Director of Photography. The Schmidts come from a long line of Hollywood filmmakers - their father / grandfather was the distinguished, Oscar-nominated film editor, Arthur P. Schmidt, best known for editing such classic films as Sunset Boulevard, Some Like It Hot, Sabrina and Sayonara, among many others.
ABOUT DECEMBER 2nd PRODUCTIONS
December 2nd Productions was founded by Jason A. Schmidt in October 2004 to produce his first award-winning documentary On the Line. Since its founding, December 2nd has produced a variety of film and video projects, including 6 public service announcements with Martin Sheen, several music videos, and the award-winning short documentary Franz Jägerstätter:
For more information on The Labyrinth, visit: www.thelabyrinthdocumentary.com
For more information on the University of San Francisco’s 2012 Human Rights Film Festival, visit: http://www.usfca.edu/