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Idealized picture of Prussia to garner German support for total war

Film | Accession Number: 1994.121.1 | RG Number: RG-60.1193 | Film ID: 979

Reel 2 opens inside a busy cafe, where Mayor Nettelbeck discusses Napoleon with two other men. Young Claus, the son of Nettlebeck's close friend Werner, hands Nettlebeck a proclamation in which Napoleon claims that he wants only to secure peace and prosperity in Europe. Nettelbeck is the only one of the three who thinks that Prussia should attempt to stand up to Napoleon. Back to the festival, where Nettelbeck's goddaughter Maria (Claus's sister) breaks off her dance to join Nettelbeck and her father inside their farmhouse. Nettelbeck tells Maria that he worries about her brother, who has been to music school in Strasbourg and has no interest in being a farmer. The talk turns to the war -- although Nettelbeck knows nothing of the safety of Maria's brother Friedrich, he has learned that Prussia has been attacked by Napoleon's army and that the Prussian Prince Louis Ferdinand has died in battle.

The next scene takes place in Potsdam, where Napoleon visits the tomb of Frederick the Great. Back in Kolberg, Friedrich rides into town with a contingent of other soldiers. He greets Maria and his father. Friedrich's commander is Schill, who will become Maria's love interest. Werner invites the soldiers into his house. In the next scene Nettelbeck challenges the authority of Lucadou, the commandant of the city. Nettelbeck tells Lucadou that he is requisitioning food supplies from the military to share with the civilian population. He further questions the placement of the warehouses where the food is stored. The scene changes to find Schill, accompanied by Maria, inspecting the town's defenses. He finds that the cannons are rusted out and says, "Children, children. You will make it easy for Napoleon." To which Maria replies, "That's what Nettelbeck always says!" She asks Schill to stay and help her town. The next scene takes place in the farmhouse, where Maria sits at a loom while Schill, Werner and Friedrich talk. Schill attempts to stand but, weakened from his wounds, he falls down, as the sound of Claus's violin comes from overhead. Maria rushes upstairs to silence her brother, who responds callously. The following scene shows Maria and Schill walking on the beach and talking intimately. Maria worries about the war and about Schill's safety and at the end of the scene she kisses him.

The next scene finds Lucadou sitting in his office. A subordinate informs him that the civilians are drilling in the market square, so he looks out the window to see Schill and Nettelbeck instructing the uniformed civilians. Lucadou yells down that the civilians should go home and leave off playing at being soldiers. The conversation between Schill and Lucadou that follows reprises the theme: the civilian population must be mobilized and fully involved in the war effort. Schill states that the rescue of the fatherland lies in the hands of the citizens. He gives a stirring speech about the Kolbergers. Lucadou belittles the idea that the war might reach as far as their town. The next scenes show shots of Maria weaving and singing interspersed with shots of the simple, happy people of Kolberg going about their lives. Snow begins to fall, signifying that the season is passing into winter.

Film Title
Production:  1945
Accessed at United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Library of Congress
Record last modified: 2021-06-03 12:48:50
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