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from Krasnosielc to California

13 mins, 34 secs

English translation of Polish dialogue and text found within this film.






"[In] the tiny Krasnosielc, "the road to Ostrołęka," Benjamin Wrona was born. His sons would found the largest film studio in the world, Warner Brothers." -- Tomek.

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From Tomek Wisniewski

Bialystok, Poland



The Warner Brothers: From Krasnosielc to California

Translation by Peter Barelkowski


There is a road. The road to Ostrołęka. The subject of jokes in the famous film of Piwowski – “ Rejs.” Since then stories circulated about how difficult the town was to locate on the map. On this road there is a village of Krasnosielc where, besides the post office, the township’s Library, few stores are renting movies. But today even this business has collapsed. In this small town between Mazowsze and Podlasie, the Wrona brothers, future founders of the Warner Brothers were born. This forgotten story was discovered by Mariusz Bondarczuk, a journalist and a local historian.

Mariusz Bondarczuk – local historian:

“At the beginning of 90’s I met David Shahar (?), a Jew born in Krasnosielc. He told me that the forefather of the Warner family who owns movie studios, music and so and so, was born in Krasnosielc. When he was raising funds to commemorate the Jews from Krasnosielc, he contacted the granddaughter of one the Warner brothers and probably from her he got a book [that she has published] about the Warner family – how it all started.

And for me it was a leaven to begin the research. It is fascinating that such a small, forgotten place was the birthplace of someone whose sons became the giants of the cinema.”

Making money from…gangsters

{Studios in Burbank, California)

In 1923 the sons of Benjamin Wrona, born in Krasnosielc, Harry, Albert, Sam and Jack Warner, established the movie studio in Burbank, California. The studio was one of the first in 1925 to introduce sound. At the beginning of the thirties they became famous by producing gangster movies (Little Caesar, Public Enemy). Since then their studio has became recognized around the world.

Wrona, Worona, Warner

Mariusz Bondarczuk – local historian:

“Their birth records do not exist. Birth Records in Krasnosielc begin at the end of nineteenth century or even the beginning of twentieth century. But according to the family tradition the name Warner was given to Benjamin Wrona when he arrived to America by the immigration clerk. His name – Wrona (it means Crow in English) was too difficult to pronounce in English and he wrote down Warner. The name Wrona occurs among Jewish names, but it is not a very popular one”.


The biggest in the world

Mariusz Bondarczuk:

In 90’s Eva Kern (?) had an idea to use the legend of the Warner Brothers to build the biggest movie theatre in the world in Krasnosielc, and Americans would come to watch the movies.

Once I met her at the township where she and town’s mayor, Mr. Glinka, were studying village plans and debating about the location of the movie theater under the skies!

(The great synagogue in Krasnosielc)

Plans were particularized. She wanted to establish a museum at the synagogue – a Warner Brothers Museum - with movie memorabilia. The idea itself was a very interesting one and it would have been a huge attraction in the area.”




September 6, 1939. Shabbat. Synagogue in Krasnosielc was filled with praying Jews. Probably among them there were relatives of Wrona’s family.


Mariusz Bondarczuk:

“Krasnosielc became the first town to witness the murder of Jews by Germans on this scale.  All male Jews were gathered in the synagogue. In front of the entrance Germans installed a machine gun and started shooting. Based on the witness account they also threw grenades inside.”


The massacred bodies were thrown through the windows into the yard. Next to the synagogue was a house of the tanner. Germans “borrowed” the lime from him to cover the bodies in the hastily dug mass grave. After the 1945 this place was covered with the cement slabs.

This tragedy is commemorated by a plaque funded by Holocaust survivors, Jews from Krasnosielc.


This film was produced with the help of a grant from Minister of Culture and National Heritage.

Production -  Tomasz Wisniewski.

Music – Led Zeppelin and Hul Horn.

When Benjamin Wrona landed in New York in 1883, the immigration clerk had problems with the pronunciation of his name. After asking in broken Polish and Russian “Werner,” “Waner,” he finally wrote down “Warner.”

Benjamin never in the future disclosed his name from Krasnosielc. He wanted to start a new life in America. His English name meant the revival and hope for a better life for him, his wife and their four sons.

This story proves that he was right.

And, by the way, it would be interesting to see the logo of the famous studio with the name unchanged.

Wrona Bros?




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