Private Filmaufnahmen aus Stalag XVII A (1940–42, anonym)


Private Film Footage from Stalag XVII A Kaisersteinbruch

October 1, 2023

In 2022, the Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance (DÖW) received an 8mm amateur film. The document contained footage by a member of the military stationed at the POW camp Stalag XVII A Kaisersteinbruch during World War II. The film provides unique glimpses of everyday life in a German POW camp in the Nazi era. Between early 1940 and the summer of 1942, the unidentified amateur filmmaker primarily documented the work shifts and free time activities of his unit in Kaisersteinbruch. He was therefore not particularly interested in POWs, who are only present in the footage of his activities at work. Nevertheless, he did capture striking images of the arrival of the first Soviet POWs at Kaisersteinbruch in late 1941. His footage of the Wehrmacht's cheerful festive activities stands in stark contrast to the depressing images of starving Soviet soldiers, foreshadowing their ordeal for us. The film's uniqueness is defined by this thematic mix. However, many negative aspects of POW camp life remain invisible in this amateur film too. (Michael Achenbach)
Historians Michael Achenbach and Reinhard Otto in person. Michael Achenbach works in the DÖW photo collection and has published on documentaries from the 1930s and 1940s. Reinhard Otto has participated in several groundbreaking studies on Soviet POWs and has led many projects concerning historical sites related to this group of victims of National Socialism.       
Our program series Flotsam is devoted to examples of ephemeral film: archive finds, film documents, unpublished and fragmented film material that have become a subject of research and curatorial attention in the Film Museum.
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