Nazi propaganda film about Theresienstadt / Terezin
Excerpt of well-known propaganda film made by the Nazis to show the International Red Cross and others that they were not mistreating Jews in the "ghettos." Documentary footage depicts the life of Jews in the ghetto of Theresienstadt [Terezin] in Czechoslovakia as harmonious and joyful. They wear yellow stars on their civilian clothing but are euphemistically called residents ["Bewohner"] instead of inmates. They look well-dressed and well-fed and keep smiling. No SS guards or other armed Germans are shown.
Shots include: men and women work contentedly on farm, in factories, making pottery and sculpture, seamstresses and tailors, cobblers, etc. Yellow stars visible on their clothing, but people smile, implying satisfaction. Recreational activities include spectator sports event in an enclosed, porticoed courtyard; concert (various views of attentive, mannered, well-dressed crowds); library; flourishing community garden; children at play; women and men socializing; barracks. Final view is family dinner scene.
The conductor of the orchestra at 09:56 can be identified as Karel Ančerl (1908-1973), founder and conductor of the String Orchestra at Theresienstadt. Ančerl is leading the orchestra in a performance of the Studie pro smyčcový orchestr (Study for String Orchestra), composed at the camp by fellow prisoner Pavel Haas (1899-1944). Haas was deported to Auschwitz and killed soon after this sequence was filmed. Ančerl, however, survived the war, and eventually recovered most of the orchestral parts to Haas' composition. A performing edition of the reconstructed score, edited by the Czech musicologist Lubomír Peduzzi, was published in 1991 (https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/bib18907).
Record last modified: 2021-09-24 12:38:28
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