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Propaganda filming of the Warsaw Ghetto: arrivals; Jewish Council; police; prison

Film | Accession Number: 1999.328.1 | RG Number: RG-60.2114 | Film ID: 2257

***This footage is from a roughly ninety-minute propaganda film that was never finished or shown publicly. It was created by a German propaganda camera team in the spring of 1942.The Nazi regime created these ghettos and imprisoned Jews within them, subjected them to these conditions of starvation and disease and overcrowding. And yet, with a film like this, they hoped to suggest that these conditions were chosen by the Jews, that they were natural Jewish living conditions. This film is considered propaganda because it is heavily staged, omits selective information, attempts to establish grotesque stereotypes, and exaggerates many elements of reality. This German propaganda film ended up on the shelf, never finished, never shown, never given a sound track that we know of. It seems that the development of the war and of the genocidal acts in 1942 probably made this irrelevant as propaganda. Mass deportations of Jews from the Warsaw ghetto began soon after filming was completed.***

Detailed Description:
New arrivals (from Germany) in Warsaw Ghetto, approach and enter building with sign: "Der Obmann des Judenrates in Warschau / Verwaltung des Juedischen Wohnbezirks in Warschau / AUFNAHMELAGER" (also in Hebrew). Men, women, children, with luggage; well-dressed, urban group, in suits, hats, coats. Includes Rosa Milewski from Brandenburg at 01:00:56 carrying a sack marked: "Transport Nr. (1)26 Rosa Sara M----vski" with her mother Klara Kreindel. Also includes Erna and Margot Steinhardt from Eberswalde at 01:01:00 (woman with a hat and her daughter holding a stuffed animal). [See "The Warsaw Diary of Adam Czerniakow" 2 May 1942: "The German propaganda people are in the ghetto, they visited the prison and the refugee shelter at Tlomackie Street, filming."]

01:01:41 Street outside Jewish Council building. Orthodox Jewish men approach, enter. Sign: "Der Obmann des Judenrates in Warschau / Verwaltung des Juedischen Wohnbezirks in Warschau" (also in Hebrew). Bearded men up staircase, INT. Posters on lice, epidemic.

01:02:39 Further scenes of new arrivals inside the refugee shelter. CU suitcase marked: "Margarete Sara KATZ / Magdeburg - Kaiser Friedrich Strasse." German Jews wearing stars marked "Jude", crowded and resting in large hall. Older couple, adolescents. Mother in head scarf giving boy a drink. Mother feeding soup to child. CUs, tracking shot of faces posed in a line. Various.

01:04:13 Processing new arrivals. INT, tables, newcomers approach men at tables and move on.

01:04:32 Further scenes in Jewish Council building: Czerniakow's office door is opened from inside; Czerniakow greets men, who sit around desk. Czerniakow at his desk, candelabra with candles lit. Czerniakow in conversation with the men. Pan down from portrait to Czerniakow talking, MCS. Aide comes up and leaves papers for him. Czerniakow writes. Pan down from Pilsudski portrait to the four men. Czerniakow shakes hands with them and they leave. [See "The Warsaw Diary of Adam Czerniakow" 3 May 1942: "At 10 the film crew from the Propaganda Office arrived and proceeded to take pictures in my office. A scene was enacted of petitioners and rabbis entering my office, etc....A nine-armed candlestick with all candles lit was placed on my desk."]

01:06:36 Cart, peddlers, street, cobblestones. Frail child huddles in doorway. Man kicks at a boy, moving toward camera. People around cart where food (small fish?) is weighed, sold, wrapped in pages torn from book. People looking at camera, relaxed.

01:07:33 Scenes of Jewish Police striking people and moving them along street. [See Emmanuel Ringelblum's Journal, 8 May 1942: "They are still filming the Ghetto. Every scene is directed....They spent two days shooting the Jewish prison and the Council. They drove a crowd of Jews together on Smocza Street, then ordered the Jewish policemen to disperse them...."] Wider shot, large numbers of people. Jewish Police bring "culprit" to camera and pass. Beating at men as porter with long boards passes by. Old woman down on the cobblestones. 01:09:03 German passes L to R with battery or other equipment on his hip. Women and children move back and forth, camera conscious. Two wagons pass: ordure? 01:10:02 A uniformed German Luftwaffe soldier with forage cap can be seen in the BG of crowd. Porter with boards passes again, close to camera. Crowd in street, shop in BG with sign: CLEB (bread). Boy fallen on pavement struggles on weak legs to get up, close shot. Different angle of same boy fallen in street between tram tracks; another boy takes his arm, as Jewish police threaten. 01:11:00 HA view from building. HA as Jewish Police beat "culprit" - all in leather boots. 01:11:05 Chair on sidewalk and two Germans barely seen, top of frame. One is standing on the chair with camera, the other supporting him.

01:12:07 Boys brought to prison by Jewish Police. Sign: "Obmann des Judenrates in Warschau / Verwaltung des Juedischen Wohnbezirks in Warschau / Ordnungsdienst / ARRESTANSTALT" (also in Polish, ending w/ ARESZT CENTRALNY dla ZYDOW). CU men, tracking shot, close on faces. 01:12:50 Quick view of a camera crew in the background (blurry) as pan of prisoners ends. Boys. Pan down to feet, shoes, bindings, pan to right. Again, and pan down, and right. Men and boys, including one-legged man, brought to prison yard, hurried along, limping past Jewish policemen. Garden in BG; large open space. Men and boys circling. Close shots. More of men, Jewish police, camera within the circle, MS. CU ragged boy. More of them circling. Establishing shot and slight pan. Closer shot and pan. To camera, up and past, very thin men and boys. CU sign: "Arrestanstalt." Wall, guardpost, doorway. HA pan, market, wall to open prison yard and building with guardpost, doorway. HAs: market, street, tram marked "Muranow Leszno" (01:17:11), crowds, cobblestones. LS, HA, men circling in prison yard. Pan left. Boys driven out of doorway by Jewish policemen, down two cement steps, and off right. Sign with arrow, on wall, right of screen: "CHRO_W." Women driven out same door, slower. Two female Jewish police, armbands. One woman prisoner falls. Two Jewish policemen emerge, and one man very briefly in doorway. End of reel / "Warsaw"

Film Title
Event:  1942 May
Production:  1942
Warsaw, Poland
Accessed at United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Library of Congress
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 22:03:43
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