Scarlett Johansson's tears as she discovers Warsaw Ghetto ancestry

Actress found out more about Polish relatives who perished during the Holocaust


Scarlett Johansson was brought to tears after finding out that relatives of hers perished in the Warsaw Ghetto during the Holocaust.

The actress found out more about her family in the latest episode of Finding Your Roots, the American equivalent of the British show Who Do You Think You Are.

Ms Johansson discovered that while her maternal great grandfather, Saul Szlamberg, had moved to America before the war, working in New York as a grocer, his brother Moshe and Moshe’s two daughters, Zlata and Mandlit, had died in the infamous ghetto.

“I mean, you really couldn’t imagine the horror. It’s just so crazy to imagine”, she said, as Henry Louis Gates Jr, the historian presenting the programme, showed her the documents detailing their deaths. 

“I promised myself I wouldn’t cry, but it’s hard not to”.

“It makes me feel more deeply connected to that side of myself, that side of my family. I didn’t expect that.”

Actor Paul Rudd also makes an appearance in the episode, learning more about his paternal grandfather, who returned home to Britain after fighting five years for his country, only to be on the receiving end of antisemitism from local English Fascist groups.

The actor read from a Jewish Telegraph Agency report from January 1947, which said that “The Hempstead, Edgware, Catford and New West End Synagogues received telephonic threats this week warning that the structures would be either blown up or burnt down.”

“One of the new fascist groups — Union for British Freedom — held a meeting this week at Edgware, at which Victor Burgess, who was detained during the war as a ‘dangerous person,’ suggested that four British Jews should be flogged publicly.”

Henry Louis Gates Jr then told Mr Rudd, “Now think about your grandfather. He had served in World War II to fight fascism and he comes home to fascism. Can you imagine?”

“I mean, it must have been awful,” the actor replies.

After hearing about the experiences of his Jewish family, the Ant Man star responded by saying he felt “closer to them and closer to my religion.”

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