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General Harpe, 12th Panzer Div. in action in Smolensk, Vitebsk region

Film | Digitized | Accession Number: 2005.180.1 | RG Number: RG-60.4263 | Film ID: 2787

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    General Harpe, 12th Panzer Div. in action in Smolensk, Vitebsk region


    Reel 2: 00:00:00 Brief shot of a German soldier on guard through a wrought iron fence. German soldiers drive down a city street in an open-top car, pull over and consult a map while looking at the various streets. Next shot shows a soldier painting an arrow on a makeshift sign set up in the street (with 12th Panzer Division symbol, Y in a circle). The car full of soldiers continues and pulls in front of a building; soldiers walk in the street amid military vehicles. A house is engulfed in flames at night, dark silhouettes watch. German tanks and trucks wait in a hilly field as the camera pans.

    Reel 3: 00:01:24 Several shots of German artillery firing in an open field. Trucks and motorcycles move down a dusty road. Panning shot of a halftrack full of soldiers pulling artillery. Different shots of German tanks and trucks advancing through a hilly area; several village buildings present. Soldiers gather around a small river, different shots of tanks crossing through the river. Groups of soldiers struggle to move motorcycles across the river; views of the destroyed bridge in the BG. Different shots of officers discussing while soldiers bathe in the river. Russian prisoners work on a temporary wooden bridge. Wounded man carefully lifted off truck by six men (someone important?). Corpses of Soviet soldiers on the ground near wrecked equipment, vehicles, tanks, artillery. German soldiers scavenge through wreckage. Local peasants leading horses near wrecked vehicles. 00:09.40 General Josef Harpe (?) speaking with officers from a military vehicle (also appears 00:10:00-00:10:08 talking with other officers-from behind). Shot from inside a tank. 00:10:23 Closeup of General Josef Harpe, riding in armored vehicle, 00:11.00 looking through field glasses, reading a map with a magnifying glass (he also appears from 00:12:21-00:12:40). Military vehicles mired in mud. Bumpy shot as tank crosses railroad tracks. Quick shot of civilians driving a wagon. Panzer travels towards camera, plates clearly visible, WH-816 868. Gen. Harpe and other officers (some wearing Iron Cross) smoke and talk. CU of damages houses, dead Soviet soldiers. German soldiers/vehicles congregate around a small pond, vehicles cross a wooden bridge, a general (Harpe?) speaks with an officer. 00:16:09 Unidentified officer quickly turns to camera, seated in open vehicle (he appears in later scenes). Soldiers carry a section of a makeshift wooden bridge. A German soldier looks up in the sky through binoculars. A truck slowly moves over a wooden boardwalk.

    Reel 4: 00:16:59 Crowd of men gather at the back of a transport truck (bread being dispersed). 00:17:11 Signs: Dobrowno, Bor, Kokorewo, Porchow, Szoltzy. Signs: Staraja Russa, Dno, Szoltzy. Two German soldiers direct traffic in a city intersection. A soldier whittles a piece of wood and paints it (CU of can, Nährsein?). CU of someone loading tins of butter into a crate. Soviet POWs in an internment camp. Sign: "Kriesgefangenen-Durchgangslager" [Prisoner-of-war transit camp]. Camera pans past a large group of Russian peasant women and children standing on the side of the road as military vehicles drive past.

    Reel 5: 00:18:33 (part is reversed; repeated at end) German military vehicles drive through a severely damaged city. Signs: "Nach Smolensk", "Nach Witebsk über Autobahn", military unit symbols (12th Panzer symbol). Signs: "Nach Afonassjewa 4km", "Samoschtschi", "Nach Szpass-Ugly über Lukschewa". Men work on car repairs/sewing. Two soldiers carefully unload crates of bottles of French cognac Hennessy and cigarettes. A cobbler works on a shoe under a tree. Handwritten sign reading, "Villa zur abgebrochenen Baumspitze". Soldier carefully carries a hot tin of food (appears to be quite proud of himself). 00:21:15 Streets, building exterior, perhaps medical personnel of institution; and patients. German soldiers treat them pretty roughly, shoving some. City scene. 00:21:52 German officers, including tall slender commanding General? in overcoat and helmet, with Iron Cross decoration. Triangular unit banner with Y in circle marking, and "I". Behind them is an unusual white building, rounded top stories. 00:22:07 Jewish male? closeup. 00:22:23 Jewish male? (BA notes identify the individuals as doctors, hospital personnel, and patients) Different shots of damaged city, German soldiers and machinery waiting. 00:23:06 Close view, young Jewish male (?), crying. A German soldier pulls the hood off a car and takes a part. Camera pans past damaged train cars. German soldiers gather next to a tank in the forest, speaking with an officer wearing the Iron Cross. 12th Panzer division moving through the forest. Memorial with a bust in front of a farmhouse. 00:30:00 Road sign in Cyrillic, towards Minsk and towards Zaslawl.
    Event:  1941
    Soviet Union
    Vitebsk, Soviet Union
    Minsk, Soviet Union
    Accessed at United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Bundesarchiv Filmarchiv
    Producer: Heeresfilmstelle

    Physical Details

    B&W / Color
    Black & White
    Image Quality
    Time Code
    00:00:00:00 to 00:32:00:00
    Film Format
    • Master
    • Master 2787 Video: Betacam SP - PAL - large
      Master 2787 Video: Betacam SP - PAL - large
      Master 2787 Video: Betacam SP - PAL - large
      Master 2787 Video: Betacam SP - PAL - large
    • Preservation
    • Preservation 2787 Video: Betacam SP - NTSC - large
      Preservation 2787 Video: Betacam SP - NTSC - large
      Preservation 2787 Video: Betacam SP - NTSC - large
      Preservation 2787 Video: Betacam SP - NTSC - large

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    You do not require further permission from the Museum to access this archival media.
    Conditions on Use
    Material(s) in this collection may be protected by copyright and/or related rights. You do not require further permission from the Museum to use this material. The user is solely responsible for making a determination as to if and how the material may be used.

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Film Provenance
    Forms part of the Wehrmachtsaufnahmen collection at the Bundesarchiv. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum purchased this footage in March 2005 from the Bundesarchiv in Berlin, Germany.
    See departmental files for more detailed information in German from the Bundesarchiv.

    Reel 2: USHMM copied 15 of 180 meters; Reel 3: copied in its entirety (178 meters); Reel 4: USHMM copied 16 of 150 meters; Reel 5 copied in its entirety (118 meters).

    See Story 4261: some of same locations, signs, personnel.

    Viewed 06/02/05 with Vadim Altskan and Alexander Prusin for identification of locales, etc.
    Copied From
    Film Source
    Bundesarchiv (Germany). Filmarchiv
    File Number
    Legacy Database File: 4552
    Source Archive Number: 1780 R2,3,4,5
    Record last modified:
    2024-02-05 07:33:23
    This page:

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