Leopold “Poldek” Socha is a sewer worker in Nazi-occupied Lvov, Poland, who takes advantage of the unsettled times to burgle homes and stash the loot in the sewers. He and his young sidekick, Szczepek, stumble across a group of Jews who are in hiding and hoping to use the sewers to escape. Not one to miss an income opportunity, Poldek agrees to provide the Jews with food and other help as long as they can afford to pay him. But by the time the Jews’ money runs out, Poldek has seen the viciousness of the Nazi occupiers and their collaborators, and he has begun to perceive the Jews not just as marks, but as human beings deserving of compassion. His determination to continue aiding them puts Poldek and those around him in increasing danger.
In Darkness is yet another entry in the now established sub-genre of films about gentiles who helped Jews during World War II. Indeed, Leopold Socha was a real person who, along with his wife Magdalena, was later recognized by Israelis as one of the Righteous Among the Nations. There is nothing special about In Darkness, but it never hurts to be reminded that people do occasionally rise above apathy and selfishness to help others just because it’s the right thing to do.
Back in 1992, director Agnieszka Holland was nominated for her film Europa, Europa.