He was silent

<< BEFORE: He saw everything

I often remind my comics students that “action” is anything you DO… including doing nothing.  Standing still, being silent, looking other way are all things people DO in some situations.  And as we can see here, in certain situations, such non-active actions can have tragic results.

NEXT: Babka remembers military service in war >>



  1. I’m surprised that you were able to get [Babka] to speak about these difficult times when many people looked away. There is a wonderful Slovak film “The Shop on Main Street” that deals with everyone’s decision to look away and save themselves, or stand up against impossible odds and be destroyed yourself. Our family would be very different if [Babka’s father] had stood up for the Jews. It begs the question, what would I do, thinking of my family and the future?

    1. Yes, people don’t always want to talk openly about their memories from those times, but once they start talking they have a lot to tell. These stories that Babka tells give us a view into how people look at the world, the experiences that shape their relationships to each other & their own culture.
      Here’s a short clip from Obchod na korze. (You will recall that it was filmed in Sabinov, next door to Babka’s home town!) This particular clip makes me feel like Uncle Marcel let me off easy…
      And just for language practice, here’s a trailer for the film, with Spanish subtitles.

    1. What difficult times & difficult decisions they faced… These stories help me understand something of Slovak people’s relationships to authority, outsiders, and selves.

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