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Walter Stier

Film | Accession Number: 1996.166 | RG Number: RG-60.5064 | Film ID: 3800, 3801, 3802, 3803, 3868, 3310, 3312

As a Reichsbahn official, Walter Stier scheduled the journeys of special trains to different death camps. He claims he knew nothing of the destination. Lanzmann used a false name and filmed this interview with a hidden camera.

FILM ID 3800 - Stier 1-4A [CR 1,4,2,3]
CR1 (silent) INT minivan with video transmission of the interview with Stier on a television monitor. 01:00:57 Volkswagon van on street approaching camera, parking. 01:01:39 CR4 (sound) Van parked next to residence. Zoom, CUs. White/red minivan with plate 307CAE75. 01:03:01 CR2 (sound) Side view of the van, exteriors. CU of the moving antenna. 01:03:35 CR3 (silent) Short shot of the minibus, image out from 01:03:47 to 01:03:55. CU antenna.

FILM ID 3801 - Stier 1A-2B [CR 1A,2A,2B]
(sound and image in and out throughout reel) Lanzmann and Stier recall the names of European regions formerly part of the Third Reich. Lanzmann uses a false name, and Stier refers to him as Dr. Sorel. Stier began working in the head office of the Eastern Railways soon after its inception in Krakow in 1939, and was transferred to Warsaw in July 1943 when he was promoted to head of the scheduling bureau. Department 33 aided the Reichsbahn by supplying "special" trains to transport Jews to concentration camps. The Reich traffic ministry in Berlin ordered special trains from Department 33. Despite having been tried as an accessory to murder, Stier maintains that he knew nothing of the purpose of the transports. He vehemently states he sat behind a desk for the duration of the war and that he was only responsible for arranging train schedules.

FILM ID 3802 - Stier 3A-5A [CR 3A,3B,4A,5,5A]
(sound and image in and out throughout reel) None of Stier's supervisors were indicted for any crimes. Although his office in Krakow was relatively close to Auschwitz, Stier claims he had no idea that over one million people were being exterminated there. Lanzmann shows Stier a summary report of train schedules from Department 33 indicating that Jews were transported from ghettos to various concentration camps. Stier points out that all the trains are recorded as leaving the camps empty. Stier never saw any of the trains he assisted in sending to concentration camps or the ghettos their victims came from. He tells Lanzmann that there were members of the Nazi Party in Department 33, and those who were not members were forced to join under threat of losing their job. Stier joined the Nazi Party in 1939.

FILM ID 3803 - Stier 6-7 [CR 6,7]
(sound and image in and out throughout reel) As a member of the Nazi Party, Stier received extra food and alcohol which was not available to non-party members during rationing. He once gave his Polish assistant, Stanislaus Pfalz, spare food and tells Lanzmann that he and others in the department would have done anything to help. Everybody had an idea of what the transports of Jews to the East was, but it was not discussed until the end of the war. Even if Stier had known the truth, he would have remained silent out of fear. After the war, Stier worked for a British Station Officer as an interpreter where he scheduled and witnessed trains arriving from the East with survivors of the camps.

FILM ID 3868 -- 8,9 Son Seul Chemin de fer (audio only, there is no corresponding 16mm image)
Stier did not believe Germany would lose the war until the fall of Stalingrad. Stier shows Lanzmann pictures of his family and co-workers during the war, including a photo of Franz Stangl. Stier was called as a witness to many of the postwar trials for high-ranking Nazis. #9 Stier and Lanzmann discuss the statute of limitations and how it may prevent further convictions of Nazis, something Stier finds fault with. He claims that if he had murdered anyone he should have to be held responsible.

FILM ID 3310 -- Int. Camion Gewecke Stier (Stier Camera Roll #1) -- 14:00:10 to 14:07:12 (preserved with Gewecke)
Mute color shots of two technicians in the van that received the video feed from the hidden camera interview. The technicians watch the image, listen to the sound, and make adjustments. CU on the black and white image. The man being interviewed is Stier.

FILM ID 3312 -- Int. Camion Gewecke Stier (Stier Camera Roll #7) -- 16:00:11 to 16:08:06 (preserved with Gewecke)
Continuation of the scene in the van. One of the technicians adjusts an antenna. Again, the image shows Stier.

Event:  1978-1981
Production:  1985
Frankfurt, Germany
Created by Claude Lanzmann during the filming of "Shoah," used by permission of USHMM and Yad Vashem
Record last modified: 2021-06-03 12:48:00
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