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Theresienstadt (1944)

| Short, History
Nazi propaganda film depicting the notorious Theresienstadt concentration camp as a sort of idyllic rest stop, in an attempt to convince world opinion that there was no such thing as Nazi death camps.

Writers:

Kurt Gerron, Manfred Greiffenhagen (script contributor) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Credited cast:
Paul Eppstein Paul Eppstein ... Vorsitzender des Ältestenrates der Juden / Soziologe - Mannheim - Berlin
Karel Fischer Karel Fischer ... Dirigent
Kurt Gerron ... Regisseur - Schauspieler
Frau Görtz Frau Görtz ... Gräfin - Holland
Adolf Hitler ... Himself
Hans Krása Hans Krása ... Komponist - Prag
Alfred Meissner Alfred Meissner ... Jurist - ehem. Minister - Tschechoslowakei
Benjamin Murmelstein Benjamin Murmelstein ... Himself
Coco Schumann Coco Schumann ... Himself
Jo Spier Jo Spier ... Maler - Zeichner - Holland
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Storyline

This is the only film known to be made by the Nazis inside an operating concentration camp. Germany's Ministry of Propaganda produced this 1944 film about Theresienstadt, the "model" ghetto established by the Nazis in 1941 in Terezin, a town in the former Czechoslovakia. Joseph Goebbels intended to use the film to prove to the International Red Cross and the world that Jews were being well-treated in the camps. The film, however, is an elaborately staged hoax presenting a completely false picture of camp life. Upon completion, the director and most of the cast of prisoners were shipped to Auschwitz. Only a few survived to attest to the falsity of the film. Includes study guide. Written by National Center for Jewish Film

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Short | History

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Details

Country:

Germany | Czechoslovakia

Language:

German

Also Known As:

Der Führer schenkt den Juden eine Stadt See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (fragment) | (original)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The shoot started on 26 August 1944 in Theresienstadt. The cast and crew were mostly prisoners from Theresienstadt, but they had no artistic freedom because the screenplay and production was closely supervised by the SS-Nazis. Nearly all of the prisoners who worked on this film were later deported to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Extermination Camp on 28 October 1944. Kurt Gerron, his wife and most of the performers were gassed immediately upon arrival. The editing and post-production was supervised only by the SS-Nazis. The film was finished on 28 March 1945. The propaganda film was presented only 4 times within the next 3 weeks. See more »

Connections

Featured in Friendship Beyond the Fence (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Macabre
3 May 2004 | by belisandaSee all my reviews

I've just recently seen on a cable tv channel (yes, there is still intelligent life out there) a documentary about the german(and unfortunately for him also jewish)actor and director Kurt Gerron. His life's history impressed me so much that I couldn't help going back to the Holocaust and the open wounds it has left all across Europe even today. "Theresienstadt" (a concentration camp by any other name in what is now the Czech Republic) was a Faust-like bargain. Gerron hadn't directed a film in seven years - since the dutch "Three Wishes". He achieved the impossible portraying a concentration camp that could pass for a normal and much improved jewish ghetto. Some of his inmates proscribed him for it. Others, who have survived, aren't entirely sure they would have done different if faced with the prospect of immediate death for themselves and their families. In any case, the "cast" (mostly children) of this surreal exercise were transported to Auschwitz shortly after completion of the film. As were Kurt Gerron and his family. They were murdered on arrival. This has got to be, with the benefit of hindsight, one of the most disturbing pieces of film ever shot. And quite impossibly to vote for on a scale of 1 to 10. It is still too soon, too fresh, utterly unpardonable.


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