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  • Scenes from the liberation of Buchenwald

    Film

    The Buchenwald camp was one of the largest concentration camps. The Nazis built it in 1937 in a wooded area northwest of Weimar in central Germany. US forces liberated the Buchenwald camp on April 11, 1945. When US troops entered the camp, they found more than 20,000 prisoners. This footage shows scenes that US cameramen filmed in the camp, survivors, and the arrival of Red Cross trucks.

    Scenes from the liberation of Buchenwald
  • School lesson in Munkács

    Film

    Children from the cheder (traditional religious school) in Munkacs recite their lesson.

    School lesson in Munkács
  • Screening of concentration camp film footage

    Film

    US prosecutor Thomas Dodd introduces the film compilation "Nazi Concentration Camps." At the end of the courtroom scene shown here, the lights are dimmed for the screening. The footage, filmed as Allied troops liberated the concentration camps, was presented in the courtroom on November 29, 1945, and entered as evidence in the trial.

    Screening of concentration camp film footage
  • Siege

    Film

    On September 1, 1939, Julien Bryan was one of the last reporters holding citizenship of a non-belligerent nation remaining in Poland. His ten-minute film Siege records the horror and confusion of Warsaw during the German attack. Through actual footage taken during the siege, Bryan poignantly describes the frightening chain of events that ended in the capitulation of Warsaw and the occupation of Poland. During the early stages of the blitzkrieg, Polish military authorities commandeered civilians to dig ditches, set tank traps, and shore up fortifications. As the Polish soldiers retreated to the east, German troops encircled and laid siege to Warsaw. 

    Siege
  • Soviet Secret Police massacre in Lvov

    Film

    The Soviet Union occupied Lvov in September 1939, according to secret provisions of the German-Soviet Pact. Germany invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941. After a week of bitter fighting, German forces occupied Lvov. They discovered that the Soviet Secret Police had massacred thousands of prisoners, mostly Ukrainian nationalists, before fleeing from the city. This footage shows the removal of the bodies of some of those massacred. The Germans claimed that the city's Jewish population had supported the Soviets and had taken part in the executions. In the pogroms that followed the discovery, Ukrainian partisans supported by German authorities killed about 4,000 Jews in Lvov.

    Soviet Secret Police massacre in Lvov
  • Soviet military advance in Vitebsk

    Film

    The Germans invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941 (Operation "Barbarossa"). German forces occupied Vitebsk in the northeastern region of Belorussia on July 11. Soviet forces seized the initiative from the Germans after the battle of Stalingrad in late 1942 and early 1943. The Soviet army liberated Vitebsk on June 26, 1944, during their summer 1944 offensive. This footage shows military units involved in the fighting and German soldiers captured during the campaign. By the end of the summer, the Soviet offensive reached the outskirts of Warsaw, Poland.

    Soviet military advance in Vitebsk
  • Sudetenland ceded to Germany

    Film

    This footage shows German forces entering the Sudetenland. Under the terms of the Munich Pact, Germany annexed this largely German-speaking region from Czechoslovakia. Germany, Italy, Britain, and France were party to the pact, which averted war. Czechoslovakia, however, was not permitted to attend the Munich conference. Hitler later violated the Munich Pact by destroying the Czech state in March 1939.

    Sudetenland ceded to Germany
  • Swastika flag rises over Versailles and Paris

    Film

    The German western campaign into the Low Countries and France shattered Allied lines. Within six weeks, Britain evacuated its forces from the Continent and France requested an armistice with Germany. Paris, the French capital, fell to the Germans on June 14, 1940. In this footage, triumphant German forces raise the swastika flag over Versailles and over the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Versailles, the traditional residence of French kings, was deeply symbolic for the Germans: it was the site of both the declaration of the German Empire in 1871 and the signing of the Treaty of Versailles of 1919. The Treaty of Versailles had imposed humiliating peace terms on Germany after its defeat in World War I. Germany would occupy Paris for the next four years, until 1944.

    Swastika flag rises over Versailles and Paris

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