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Prague uprising, April-May 1945

Film | RG Number: RG-60.1900 | Film ID: 4201

“Václav Kostelecký. Květnová revoluce 1945.” AGFA logo. Picture reportage from Prague at the end of WW2 filmed by Vaclav Kostelecky from April 30 to May 16, 1945.

View of the Prague Castle from a hillside. Mr. Kostelecky inspects a camera. Prague Castle and the top of the Church of Saint Nicholas. Intertitle: “30. duben 1945” April 30, 1945 Prague Castle and a building, perhaps the former headquarters of the Wehrmacht (?). Czech police officer speaks with a German soldier. Street. Car. The Royal Castle. Pan, Prague rooftops, cloudy, the Nazi flag hanging on the castle. A military truck with soldiers. Rooftop view of the dome of the Church of Saint Nicholas. Three soldiers look out at the city. View of streets from tram. A truck in the street. Small poster: “Burgbesucher! Passanten!” followed by the Czech. Soldiers walk across a square. A man sits on a short ledge, sighs, takes his hat off, and wipes his forehead. A street sign: “Georgsgaffe JIRSKA IV.” Tower of the Basilica of Saint George. Street Sign “6. Historisch wertvoll Historicky cenné.” Directional signs “312 km Wien,” “Dresden 154 km.” A man sits on a horse-drawn wagon. Military trucks roll through the street. Directional signs “286 km Nürnberg,” “148 km Budweis Budějovice” INT soldiers in moving vehicles. Men ride bikes up the street towards a crowd outside of a building.

“Run na poštu č.33 ve Slezské ulici.” The crowd is outside post office 33 on Silesian Street in Prague. Signs on the side of the building. People shove each other, trying to get inside. View of Wenceslas Square and the back of the equestrian statue of Wenceslas, from the steps of the National Museum. Trolley cars. People stand on the steps of the museum and smile at the camera. German soldiers fix a car. A large crowd on the street. Soldiers stand by a car. CU of license plate “Nd 9165.” Officers on a motorcycle and sidecar. “KORUNA” neon sign. Soldiers get their shoes waxed and shined. The Prague Astronomical Clock. Cars and horse-drawn carriages. Soldiers walk on the sidewalk, one uses crutches because he is missing a leg, a young woman with a backpack. Germans leaving Prague.

Intertitle: “1. květen 1945.” May 1, 1945 People stand at the base of the statue of Wenceslas. Street from moving cars. Clothes dry on tree branches. People read a poster. German tanks patrolling the Republic Square and Wenceslas. Print of a man in a suit and tophat. Arrow on side of building says, “INS FREIE DO VOLNA.” [to leave].

Intertitle: “4. Květen 1945.” “Večer zasáhli Němci palác Koruna na Václavském náměstí.” May 4, 1945, evening. German patrol with machine gun passes Crown building. A weapon points into the air.

Intertitle: “5. květen 1945.” May 5, 1945 “Začátek revoluce.” Republic Square filmed from the window of one of the local apartments: soldiers, cars, and trolleys. People on a ladder remove a shop-front sign. German troops ride on bikes in rows of twos with their guns across their backs. A man paints out a word on a marquee that says “Doda” and “WASCHE. PRADLO, BILE ZBOZI.” Another man a few buildings down climbs up a ladder to do the same to a shop-front sign that reads “KALHANEK.” Tanks roll through the streets. More military vehicles. Crowded streets, outside the barracks. Intertitle: “První vlajka v Revoluční třídě.” A Czech flag twists in the wind. People in the streets. A large crowd gathers. People run towards an entryway. An intertitle reads, “Shazování Hiterů.” People trample the portrait of Hitler, torn posters on the pavement. Some tear them up, throw them to the ground. More tanks drive through and the crowd moves about.

Intertitle: “7. květen 1945.” May 7, 1945. Destruction. Planes fly overhead. Barricades in the district of Vinohrady, people on the barricades. A man runs. Intertitle “Vlasovci jdou na pomoc.” Soldiers on the streets. Cinema Astoria. A flag that appears to have a hole cut in it flies from the roof of a building that says “VALDEK.” More street shots. There is a lot of activity. Guardman’s body lies in the street. Looking for shooter. Mr. Kostelecky posts a notice: “SPOLUOBCANE”. INT of apartment, destroyed windows. Trenches. Civilians give goods to the soldiers on the sidewalk. They stand around talking, smoking. Two soldiers sprint from one street corner to another in order to avoid enemy fire. Soldiers fire down the street. One fires from the ground next to the wheels of a truck on Manor Street.

Intertitle: “8. květen 1945.” May 8, 1945. Wenceslas Square. “Přísaha Revoluční gardy na velitelství Bartoš v Bartolomoějské ulici.” The revolutionary guard takes an oath at the headquarters Bartos at St. Bartholomew Street. Burning Prague, smoke rising above the rooftops. Smoke rises in front of the top of Saint Nicholas Church. People clear bricks in front of a drugstore. Intertitle; “Staroměstské náměstí v 6 hodin večer při příměří.” Old Town Square. The Astronomical Clock has been destroyed. Buildings are ruined. The crumbling facade of the Clock. Rubble in flames. The Clock tower in smoke. Buildings burn. A tank rolls in. Trolley lines have been knocked down. A soldier holds a panzerfaust across his shoulders. Tyn Cathedral in Old Town Square. People walk through the street all in a chain holding hands. Soldiers attempt to put out fires using hoses.

Intertitle: “9. květen 1945.” May 9, 1945 “Rusové přišli!” Czech soldiers shake the hands of the newly arrived Soviets. German soldiers under the supervision of Czechs work to remove the bricks from the barricades. In Karlovy spas, people take their shoes off and line them up along the sidewalk. Sculpture of a woman in the FG with a view of the city skyline in the background. A soldier raises his arms and gun triumphantly open above his head, with the Lesser Town Bridge Tower in the BG. The Saint Nicholas Church belltower. People celebrate the arrival of the Soviets. A man triumphantly holds up a stalk grenade. A tank with soldiers piled atop it crawls through the street. View from one of the moving vehicles. The top of the Prague Astronomical Clock tower has been burned down. Various buildings around Old Town Square are badly damaged and burned. A soldier speaks to the crowd. The statue of Czech King Charles IV stands behind them.

Intertitle: “10. květen 1945.” May 10, 1945. Military tanks, trucks. Rubble. The statue of Wenceslas. Words on the statue base read “SVATY VACLAVE.” People walk across rubble. Children digging around in the rubble. A mannequin has been placed against a streetlamp on the sidewalk. Soldiers stand in a long line in the street. Trucks full of troops move out. Women in traditional dress wave at the soldiers driving by. One soldier kneels down to take a photo of them. Various shots of the women. Intertitle: “Příjezd vlády z Moskvy.” The Czech government-in-exile arrives, crowds greet them, waving and smiling. Lots of women waving. Sign: “Tento závod jest ve vedeni českych zaměsranců.” Graffiti “SMRT!” with a swastika drawing.

Intertitle: “16. květen 1945.” May 16, 1945. Arrival of President Benes in Prague. Post: “Praha zdravi presidenta budovatele.” Words on a shopfront window, “привет вам” and “VITÁME VÁS!”. People pass out copies of the newspaper “RUDÉ PRÁVO.” A man sleeps with a hat covering his face. A woman carries two flags in her hand. A stand with photos of Edvard Beneš and Stalin and flowers. Crowds gather. Soldiers march in the parade, marching band, graffiti. "Long live the brave Marshal Stalin, hurray!" Women in traditional outfits. Children watch from ladders. CU of the image of Edvard Beneš. Men carry a ladder into the crowd. Some watch from perches outside windows, while other stack cinder blocks to stand on. INT view of women leaning out of a window. WS of Wenceslas Square, the street flanked by soldiers. People climb on top of a car. “Slavný příjezd prezidenta Beneše do Prahy.” A procession of cars. President Edvard Beneš is in one of the cars, and the crowd waves excitedly. The film ends the intertitle, “Konec.”

Genre
Amateur
Duration
00:31:35
Event Date
April 30-May 16, 1945
Locale
Prague, Czechoslovakia
Language
Mute
Genre/Form
Amateur.
Credit
Accessed at US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Národní filmový archiv
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Record last modified: 2018-03-07 13:30:24
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn556022