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Prewar Lvov and the first days of German occupation

Film | Accession Number: 2001.355.1 | RG Number: RG-60.3131 | Film ID: 2488

Prewar scenes in Lvov, Poland. VS, parade, floats with people and agit prop puppets, etc. Scenes after the German invasion. Nazi flags flying from buildings, etc. Crowds of civilians, peasants, women and children, in the streets, soldiers milling about. CU of military officer.

In the first segment, the narrator speaks in Ukrainian over images of prewar life with shots of people (possibly in some sort of pageant) dressed as priests, bourgeois capitalists, and nuns in order to explain how the notion of "enemy" was created. There is a stall with a game allowing players to shoot the bourgeois wood cut-out. A girl takes aim and shoots the bourgeois [slogan: "A good shot will end the bourgeoisie."]. The footage may have been taken in the mid-late 20s or early 30s. Grotesque mummery served as a visual explanation for people to help them to understand who the enemies of their new and happy life were.

Translation of voiceover narration: The time had almost come for a magnificent construction of earthly paradise to be shown to the world. Accidents of famine and other misfortunes, when the ends didn't justify the means, were something enemies had to be blamed for. If the enemies were persisting in their actions they had to be destroyed. And there was no rest for the punitive sword of revolution in this two dimensional black-and-white world.

01:21:13 German soldiers enter Lvov and are greeted by the citizens of Lvov. There is no hint of fear. People seem to be comfortable around the German soldiers. A German orchestra performs. German officers socialize with each other, and soldiers are laughing and speaking with Ukrainians. Then, people carry injured, bleeding, or dead bodies out of an NKVD building. The juxtaposition of these images (celebration and death) is intended to show how it came to be that Nazis could be seen as liberating the Lvovans from repressive Soviet rule, as described by the narrator. Cut to Lvov buildings with Nazi flags.

Translation of voiceover narration: Let's be honest, those two years of the Stalin-Beriya terror in Western Ukraine [1939-1941] had led to an unbelievable thing: Hitler's soldiers were met as liberators. It was impossible to imagine something more terrifying and fearful than these Soviet pre-war years. Besides, Germans were clever enough to reveal NKVD murders that were not hidden very well. And this is about the time to mention the OUN. Before the outbreak of war, OUN split into two rival factions.

Event:  1930-1941
Lvov, Poland
Accessed at US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Central State Film, Photo & Sound Archives
Record last modified: 2020-02-04 10:39:52
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