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Bustling Jewish life in Berlin

Film | Digitized | Accession Number: 2014.534 | RG Number: RG-60.1771 | Film ID: 4119

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    Bustling Jewish life in Berlin


    In Berlin, a statue of a woman with her arm outstretched. Busy street scene, Nazi flags are visible from the upper floors of several buildings, as are Hebrew script signs on many of the ground-floor businesses. "Horst Wessel Platz" underground station sign. 01:05:42 Briefly, the facade of a synagogue located at 32 Grenadierstrasse. Quick cuts of two smiling women and street scenes. A residential courtyard with terraces. Concealed view of the exterior of the Reichstag building and the Siegfried statue of the Bismarck Memorial. 01:06:19 Street sign reads "Grenadierstrasse," more scenes of a bustling shopping street, including close-ups of religious Jews as they pass by. Swastika flag. Girl stands beside a shop sign. A family and Jewish children pose for the camera. More street scenes, vendor pulls a cart.
    Event:  1934
    Berlin, Germany
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, gift of Peter Gessner
    Camera Operator: Robert J. Gessner
    Robert Gessner was born on October 21, 1907 in Escanaba, MI. He obtained a B.A. from the University of Michigan in 1929 and a M.A. from Columbia University in 1930. He started teaching at New York University in 1930. He married Doris Lindeman on May 27, 1938 and had two children, Peter and Stephen. Mr. Gessner was a screen playwright and the author of several books, including "Massacre" (1931); "Broken Arrow" (1933); "Some of My Best Friends are Jews" (1936); "Treason" (1944); "Youth is the Time" (1945). He was a pioneer educator in motion pictures as an art form. Gessner founded the Motion Picture Department (now Cinema Studies) at NYU in 1941, the first four-year film curriculum leading to a B.A. degree in motion picture studies in the United States. He finished his book "The Moving Image, A Guide to Cinematic Literacy" before he died in June 1968.

    Physical Details

    B&W / Color
    Black & White
    Image Quality
    Time Code
    01:05:30:00 to 01:07:27:00
    Film Format
    • Master
    • Master 4119 Film: positive - 16 mm - b&w - silent - reversal original - B-wind
      Master 4119 Film: positive - 16 mm - b&w - silent - reversal original - B-wind
      Master 4119 Film: positive - 16 mm - b&w - silent - reversal original - B-wind
      Master 4119 Film: positive - 16 mm - b&w - silent - reversal original - B-wind

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    You do not require further permission from the Museum to access this archival media.
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
    Conditions on Use
    The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum places no restrictions on use of this material. You do not require further permission from the Museum to reproduce or use this film footage.

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Film Provenance
    Robert Gessner was a Jewish American screenwriter and author of several books. He traveled to several European countries in 1934 and took films and photographs of his trip. His son, Peter, donated the collection to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in November 2014.
    The original Kodak film contains a 1934/54 date code [plus/circle]

    Robert Gessner published a book in 1936 about his overseas travels called "Some of my Best Friends Are Jews". On pages 94+95, he writes: "At 32 Grenadierstrasse the entrance to the shool [shul] was decorated with a crudely painted swastika. A Mogen Dovid, symbolic star of David and now of the lost Israel, had been scraped away. You could see the outlines still in the stone, the fascinating pattern of two triangles interwoven, both set in opposite directions and yet all six points harmoniously proportioned..... In Grenadierstrasse the Nazis broadcast from a truck a punch-by-punch account of the first Berlin pogrom. It had been a huge success."
    Film Source
    Mr. Peter Gessner
    File Number
    Legacy Database File: 6041
    Record last modified:
    2024-02-21 08:02:51
    This page:

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