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Czech gymnast festival in Prague, 1938

Film | Digitized | RG Number: RG-60.6994 | Film ID: 4377

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    Czech gymnast festival in Prague, 1938


    Blurry iris in on a drawn picture of a large castle (possibly Prague Castle) 01:00:20:05 Title: “Tenth Sokol Congress Praha 1938.” Blurry shot of a poster, featuring three muscular men in various poses in front of the Czechslovak flag, text under them says “X Slet Všesokolsky”. English translation is spliced into the title: “Tenth Sokol Congress”

    Title: “The American Delegation Arrives.” Two stills: the first of four men and a woman walking towards a camera, with two of whom are holding an American flag, and the second, of two people, one a man with an army beret, and the other a woman in a white dress, both of whom are holding American flags (tinted?). Color film of four people, two men and two women, all wearing traditional costumes walking past the camera, followed by people walking on the Charles Bridge; a small group of men in some type of traditional military costume walk towards the camera. Two men in traditional costumes walking away from the camera, one of whom tips his hat to a man with a camera, pan of a stadium, with groups of gymnasts lined up in the center. Two massive flags, one of Czechoslovakia and the other of the Sokol organization, fly in between the gymnasts, pan left to show that the stadium is packed. More performers enter the stadium in an organized fashion (this is apparently shot on the other side of the stadium, as the flags are now farther off). The athletes participate in mass gymnastics performances.

    01:03:03:23 TItle: “President and Madame Beneš Came Daily.” Brief shot of the backs of then president Edvard Beneš and his wife looking at the games, impressive gymnastic performances. 01:05:37:21, b/w, performances.

    01:10:03:11 Title: “The Parade.” In color, a parade. People are leaning out of their windows, waving flags as the camera pans down to show the parade. The parade filmed from different angles, variously showing either marching down the streets and waving to spectators, or the crowd waving back. The marchers each have different color clothing and do different performances on the route, with the last group shown wearing traditional costumes.

    01:13:10:15 Title: “Sokol Leaders” Various stills of older men in a group photo, dressed in what may be Sokol uniforms. 01:13:48:06 Title: “The End.”
    Event:  1938 June-1938 July
    Prague, Czechoslovakia
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, gift of Nancy Harper
    Camera Operator: Wilbur J. Carr
    Collector: Robert L. Bittrick
    Wilbur John Carr, Former Assistant Secretary of State, was the Minister to Czechoslovakia (US Department of State) when German forces occupied Prague on March 15, 1939. Carr closed the Legation in Prague on March 21, 1939 and left his post on April 6, 1939. He died in 1942.
    Robert Bittrick served with the United States Army Air Corps during World War II. He enlisted on February 3, 1941 in Baltimore.

    Physical Details

    B&W / Color
    Black & White
    Image Quality
    Time Code
    01:00:00:00 to 01:13:57:05
    Film Format
    • Master
    • Master 4377 Film: positive - 8 mm - b&w - Kodachrome - A-wind - print
      Master 4377 Film: positive - 8 mm - b&w - Kodachrome - A-wind - print
      Master 4377 Film: positive - 8 mm - b&w - Kodachrome - A-wind - print
      Master 4377 Film: positive - 8 mm - b&w - Kodachrome - A-wind - print

    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
    Nancy Harper, the daughter of Robert L. Bittrick, deposited these films and other materials at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in October 2018.
    The Sokol movement is an all-age gymnastics organization first founded in Prague in the Czech region of Austria-Hungary in 1862 by Miroslav Tyrš and Jindřich Fügner. It was based upon the principle of "a strong mind in a sound body". The Sokol, through lectures, discussions, and group outings provided physical, moral, and intellectual training for the nation. The movement also spread across all the regions populated by Slavic cultures. Though officially an institution "above politics", the Sokol played an important part in the development of Czech nationalism, providing a forum for the spread of mass-based nationalist ideologies. Articles published in the Sokol journal, lectures held in the Sokol libraries, and theatrical performances at the massive gymnastic festivals (called slets) helped to craft and disseminate the Czech nationalist mythology and version of history.
    Film Source
    Nancy Harper
    Record last modified:
    2024-02-21 08:05:30
    This page:

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