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Film discovered about Polish Himalayan expedition in 1939

2008-02-20


A film shot during a Polish expedition to the Himalayas at the outbreak of World War II was discovered recently in the archives of the British Film Institute in London, the Polish Radio External Service reported on Feb. 17. The discovery was made after 17 years of research by Anna Pietraszek, a mountain climber, filmmaker and historian.

The 1939 expedition was to Nanda Devi East in India, a peak of 7,434 metres, and it ended in tragedy. Two climbers - Jakub Bujak and Janusz Klarner - reached the summit but their two teammates - Adam Karpiński and Stefan Bernadzikiewicz - died in an avalanche.

Returning to Poland by way of Mumbai, Klarner and Bujak learned about the outbreak of World War II. Klarner reached Poland, fought in the 1944 Warsaw Rising and died in 1949 in unexplained circumstances. Bujak worked in London as an aviation engineer for the British arms industry. He died in 1945, also in unexplained circumstances.

Anna Pietraszek believes Jakub Bujak may have brought the film to London. During a private viewing in Warsaw, the film was presented to Bujak's daughter and grandson, and also to Aneta Haseler, a British film producer who will collaborate with Pietraszek on a documentary about the Nanda Devi expedition. They both hope their research will shed some light on the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Bujak and Klarner.

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