WVIA-TV Documentary Film

Encore showings of the three-part documentary film, “The Extraordinary Journey”, was shown on WVIA-TV public television (Ch. 44 in Wilkes-Barre) several times due to the tremendous viewer response.  

This film, in DVD and video format, can be purchased from WVIA-TV. Call 1-800-326-9842.

To read more about this film; click on http://www.wvia.org/ and then click on Shop, then on Our Documentaries to see their list, finally click on the name, The Extraordinary Journey.

This is an excellent film for sharing our ancestors' Northeastern Pennsylvania history with the all generations. For NEPA natives that have moved away this is a way to remember this area. 

The film chronicles the precarious emigration of over one million Eastern Europeans from 26 different homelands and their settlement in Northeastern Pennsylvania between the years 1880 and 1940.

The documentary film centers on separate themes; originally shown Dec. 1st was The Journey; Dec. 2nd was A New Life; and Dec. 3rd was The Old Ways.

Professor Philip R. Tuhy, Chair of the Slovak Heritage Society of Northeastern Pennsylvania, mentioned several board members were interviewed for the documentary and provided background information on their families who immigrated to the area from Slovakia.  They were Magdalen Benish, Helen Savinski, Andrew Sofranko, Trude Check Tuhy and Philip Tuhy.

“The Eastern European culture reflects humble origins and ethnic traditions that have endeared the lives of families who have made Northeastern Pennsylvania home.” Tuhy said, “Older generations have always passed down values, beliefs and traditions to help younger generations identify with their names and their heritage.” 

Yet, many people still don’t know who they are. Through a poignant blend of first-person story telling, never before seen images and insightful humanist commentary of this documentary, all viewers will gain a better understanding of their Slovak heritage. Other ethnic groups also participated in the film.

The immigrants’ compelling story is told from their perspective, creating an evocative experiential context for the audience that turns hands of time, and draws us into a world in such chaos that one day you and your family would leave everything you knew and everyone you love to create a new life in a new country. Many never saw their homeland again.

From polka to pirohy, Eastern European culture reflects humble origins, profound religious piety and intense ethnic pride. Eastern European immigrants were mostly peasants and unable to speak English. They settled together based on the religion and homeland throughout the hard coal country.