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Nazi propaganda film about Theresienstadt / Terezin

Film | Accession Number: 2000.621.1 | RG Number: RG-60.2615 | Film ID: 2310

This version includes scenes from the children's production of "Brundibar."

Excerpts 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.

With English subtitles. Titles explaining the history of Terezin which include the number of people brought to the ghetto, how many died, and how many were sent to death camps. Film title "Theresienstadt" superimposed over orchestra scene. Audience, orchestra. Animation of the fortress city. 01:01:27 Narrator describes building the city of Theresienstadt. Several CUs of inmates playing chess, reading, and at leisure outside. Teens sitting together. Young women exercising. Man painting the landscape. Others outside - narration alludes that people happily relax on the fortress grounds in the sunshine. People sitting on benches or lying in the grass. MS, old woman winding yarn. INT, woman with yellow star on her jacket knitting, men playing chess in BG. More MSs of men playing chess. Teens running, outdoor soccer match, girls watch from the sidelines. 01:04:22 INT, operating room, surgeons working on a patient, surgical tools in FG. Patients in hospital beds, nurse and doctors walking among them. Narration alludes that the hospital is equipped with all necessary supplies. EXT, hospital patients lying in the shade as nurses attend to them. MSs, young women in beds, doctor writing notes. 01:05:13 EXT, building - narrator identifies it as a children's convalescent home on the city's fringes. Scenes of children gardening, eating bread with butter. Sign with two children: "Zum Spielplatz" [to the playground]. Children playing in a sandbox and wading pool. INT, children on rocking horses, several shots. Another child rolls a toy horse on wheels on a table.

01:07:14 Scenes from the children's production of "Brundibar." Children appear from behind one of the sets. Audience (mostly children). CU, boy sitting on the lap of a young woman. LS, children lined up on stage, the conductor is visible. MS, children singing the "victory song" at the end of the opera. Pan from right to left. The child with face-painted whiskers standing at right (next to child with a fake mustache) is Ela Weissberger. VAR, performers and the audience. Curtains close and audience claps.

01:08:59 Man shoeing a cow, music in BG. Man leading the cow. INT, labor in several workshops: blacksmiths, potters, craftsmen, sculptors, tailors, and cobblers. Fountain sculptor is Professor Rudolf Saudek (Leipzig). 01:13:45 Leaving barracks - narration indicates that laborers leave factories at the end of a work day and return to the city for free time. Men and women, old and young, walking through an archway into the fortress. Soccer game in the courtyard of the old fortress - narrator suggests that workers often play soccer. People line the balcony, watch the game, and eventually leave. 01:17:29 INT, men showering at "Zentralbad." Sign: "Zur Bucherei" [to the library]. INTs, people holding books and walking in the stacks. People appearing in this sequence: Prof. Heinrich Klang (Vienna, Judge); Dr. Desider Friedmann (Vienna, Jewish community leader, member of the Aeltestenrat of Theresienstadt); Prof. David Cohen (Amsterdam, Jewish community leader, member of the Aeltestenrat of Theresienstadt); Prof. Ernst Kantorowicz (Frankfurt/Main).

01:18:26 INT men attending an evening lecture about science and art. People appearing in this sequence: Prof. Emil Utitz; Rabbi Leo Baeck (Berlin, member of the Aeltestenrat of Theresienstadt); Prof. Hermann Strauss (Berlin); Dr. Otto Stargardt (Berlin); Dr. Jur. Alexander Cohn (Berlin); Prof. Alfred Philippson (Bonn); Prof. Alfred Klein (Jena); Prof. Heinrich Klang (Vienna, Judge); Prof. Arthur Stein (Prague, historian); Prof. Leo Taussig (Prague); Prof. Maximilian Adler (Prague); Franzi Schneidhuber (Munich, widow of SA-Obergruppenfuehrer August Schneidhuber); Elly von Bleichroeder (Berlin, daughter of the banker James von Bleichroder).

01:19:06 Orchestral concert, audience listening, orchestra playing. People appearing in this sequence: Dr. Ernst Rosenthal (Berlin, Jewish community leader); Dr. Fritz Guttmann (Berlin); Dr. Julius Moritz (Berlin); Karl Meinhard (Berlin, theater director); Karl Loewenstein (Berlin, banker); Dr. Leo Loewenstein (Aachen, entrepreneur); Prof. Rudolf Saudek (Leipzig); Dr. Heinrich Gans (Vienna); Dr. Heinrich Dessauer (Vienna); Oeve Meyer (Copenhagen, industrialist); Moritz and Melanie Oppenhejm (Copenhagen); Dr. Franz Kahn (Prague); Robert Mandler (Prague, Jewish community leader); Dr. Erich Springer (Prague, physician, chief surgeon in Theresienstadt); Elisabeth Czech (widow of former Czech minister); Hans Krasa (Prague, composer); Pavel Haas (Brno, composer). The conductor of the orchestra 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 (

01:21:16 Working in "family gardens." Inspecting plants, watering them. EXT courtyard. Reading - narrator alludes that evenings are devoted to private life. Other scenes show women sitting inside a barracks talking, knitting, playing cards, etc, including teenager Mimi Fischman Berger at. 01:24:28 Eating dinner at table. People appearing in this sequence: Prof. David Cohen (Amsterdam, Jewish community leader, member of the Aeltestenrat of Theresienstadt) and his wife; Mr. Phillip Kozower (Berlin, Jewish community leader, member of the Aeltestenrat of Theresienstadt, director of the post at Theresienstadt) and his wife and their children.

Film Title
Event:  1944
Production:  1944
Terezin, Czechoslovakia
Accessed at United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of The National Center for Jewish Film at Brandeis University
Record last modified: 2021-09-24 12:41:37
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