• Anton Gallegos Bielecki

Student thesis: Phd


In 2014, as the number of survivors dwindles, the representation of their memory and testimony after they have gone becomes increasingly important. Although it is critical to discuss the historical facts of the atrocities of World War II, those facts often do not reach the personal experiences of many survivors, who can only express many of the details of their experiences through an expression of their memories through testimony. One such testimony is that of Wanda Bielecka, a survivor of Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. This practice-based research (consisting of a film and accompanying thesis) explores her memories as they are expressed through her own testimony, and the testimony of her testimony of eleven members of her family. The practice element of the PhD consists of a 73-minute film called Wanda. Wanda is a found footage narrative, a new form of film developed to answer the following research question: how is survivor experience represented in the collective memory of a survivor's family, and how can the form of the found footage narrative be used as a way of understanding the construction of that memory? This research will explore the collective memory of the Bielecka family around the events of Wanda's life during World War II from her incarceration in Auschwitz to her eventual liberation and journey to Paris. This collective memory will be explored as a mythology around Wanda's experience. The film itself will then reflexively reveal its' own place in the construction of that mythology. A formal conception of the dialectical image is fundamental to the film's form. This form has been developed through research into essayistic modes in literature and film. It will be shown that the found footage narrative is a form of film that can be used to research, not just the collective memory around Wanda's experience, but also other instances of collective memory.
Date of Award1 Aug 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorJohannes Sjoberg (Supervisor) & David Butler (Supervisor)


  • Myth
  • Essay
  • Memory
  • Survivor
  • Film

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