Trial of the 20th of July plotters against Hitler
- Film Title
- Der 20. Juli 1944 vor dem Volksgerichtshof [The 20th of July 1944 before the People's Court]
- Event Date
- August 7-8, 1944
- Accessed at US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Bundesarchiv
Opening title: "Der 20. Juli 1944, vor dem Volksgerichtshof". Judge Roland Freisler and other judges enter courtroom and give the Nazi salute. The audience in the courtroom salutes as well. Close-up profile of Freisler. Title identifies General Major Helmut Stieff, one of the iniators of the attack on Hitler. Dark shots of Stieff as he stands before Friesler. Close up of a folder titled "Attentat auf den Fuehrer am 20 Juli 1944." The first page in the folder shows the layout in the room where the bomb went off. Shots of the destroyed room in Hitler's headquarters while Freisler's voice continues to harangue Stieff. Panning shot of the dock and other defendants surrounded by police. Stieff attempts to speak but is interrupted by Freisler.
00:03:31 A title identifies the next defendant, General Field Marshall Erwin von Witzleben. Witzleben keeps pulling up his pants as Freisler yells at him. 00:03:50 Philipp Bouhler in the audience. Shot of another judge and defense attorney (?). Witzleben answers Freisler occasionally but his words are almost inaudible. Freisler's voice sounds speeded up. Freisler calls him a murderer.
00:07:16 Title identifies defendant Generaloberst Erich Hoepner. Hoepner wears a light colored cardigan sweater and speaks for a relatively long time. Two microphones are visible on the far left of the screen in front of Freisler.
00:10:47 Title identifies Chaplain Hermann Wehrle, clergyman to Major von Leonrod. CU of Wehrle's face as a faces Freisler. Long view from Wehrle's back as he speaks. Wehrle heard the confession of von Leonrod, who asked him whether knowledge of a planned assasination was a sin. 00:10:52 Two microphones are clearly visible in front of Freisler. 00:11:04 Cameraman is visible standin in the back of the room to Freissler's left. Rex Bloomstein notes in his documentary "Traitors to Hitler" that there were three cameras in the courtroom: one was a the back of the room, one was located in the Swastka flag behind Freisler, and one was hand-held by a cameraman.
00:13:13 Title identifies the lawyer Dr. Josef Wirmer. Freisler screams at Wirmer, who tries to speak but is not successful.
00:15:38 Title identifies Ulrich-Wilhelm Graf Schwerin von Schwanenfeld. Von Schwanenfeld speaks of his experiences in Poland, including witnessing murder. At the word "murder" Freisler interrupts him, shouting.
00:17:43 Title identifies Ulrich von Hassell, German ambassador to Italy. He says that he did not believe it would be possible to carry out an assasination of Hitler.
00:20:22 Freisler reads the sentences Carl Goerdeler, Wilhelm Leuchner, Josef Wirmer and Ulrich von Hassell to death.
7-8 August 1944: Helmut Stieff (executed 8/8/44), Erwin von Witzleben (executed 8/8/44), Erich Hoepner. Hermann Wehrle executed on September 14, 1944.
Record last modified: 2018-05-04 13:07:38
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn1003741