Film: 5190

War + Military | 1940 | Silent | B/W

Synopsis:

World War Two. Amateur home movie film taken by a German soldier of the German occupation of the Netherlands and Belgium. Much good footage of parades, marching troops, funerals, villagers, possibly Jews, being rounded up in a village square, and destroyed towns, lines of refugees or POWs.

Hand made title. Shaky camera, following a motorcycle with a sidecar and a jeep down a curving road on a hill, ahead a church surrounded by lower houses, forest stretches out on hills beyond the town. Following an open top car, its roof down at the back along a road, brush and trees on either side, a barn on the left. Close up of a man eating a sandwich, in a Nazi motorcycle uniform, he is the driver of another jeep, he chews and drives at the same time. Ahead, a motorcade of motorcycles, and cars drive along the empty narrow road in the country of northern Europe. A view out over a low valley. A tank beside the road, people walking on the side of the road. A road sign, 'Arras 13 N319' with 'TCF- A.C. du Nord de la France' on top. The tall, ornately carved steeple of a village church. The arched sides of the church building, people walk in front of it, then the façade of another building opposite in a small town (Arras?) . Moving, a man on a motorcycle drives along another country road, sometime the handle bars and front headlamp of the cameraman's motor cycle is visible (good point of view shots). A motor cycle passes. Behind, cars and jeeps filled with German soldiers follow along the road. A cemetery, the motorcycle stops, other vehicles go past, some with ammunition and others with small field guns. A road neatly lined with trees, the motorcade drives along the road. Travelling behind a jeep pulling a gun and another motorcycle. A factory town, huge heaps of coal/ slag? Heaps of coal in the distance, many factory chimneys. Another street sign, 'Lille', France near the border of Belgium, possibly in Douai, France. A large factory, smoke comes out the chimney. A painted smiling face above a door, two men at a booth, they smile. A bridge over a dry river bed. Driving along a road, a factory on the other side of the wire fence, a sign on the car 'Geschhaft Zimmer'. A road block, 'Halt', possibly outside a army headquarters, a man in uniform, an officer, stands in the doorway of the building, other soldiers attend the road block, holding guns. 'Douanes Francaise', French customs border, a barrier across the road lifts up, a solder stands behind it. Two French soldiers sit at a guard booth, they wave as we go by. Another French gendarme waves as we pass. A German soldier pours petrol into his motorcycle gas tank from a petrol can. The petrol pours into the tank. 'Gent', Belgium. Ghent. A municipal building in Lille. The tall church spire, people walk or ride bikes along the cobbled road, the hand of the motorcycle driver on the handle of the motorbike. Another church and town monument. Town clock tower, profile of the motorbike driver. Another large blocky town building. Line of jeeps by the side of the road. Motorbikes with sidecars and pedestrians move across a bridge. Repairing a bridge? Undamming the river? Men work under a bridge in trestles and piles of dirt, some terracing. German soldiers inspect goods in people's bags moving across a bridge. Bicycles and cars move across a bridge. A sign for 'Antwerpen', trams move behind it, a motorcycle stops them and trucks pulling field guns move past. The huge tower of Our Lady's Cathedral the Groenplaats, the Green square in Antwerp. The guild houses of the Grote Markt, Town square. The town hall in the Town square, in renaissance style. A tall skyscraper. Views from a jeep passing through a barrier, the jeeps following behind the cavalcade, passing a tram number 6 Zuiderpark. Passing a tall windmill. Driving along a completely flat road. A man's hands on the driving wheel turn it to the right. Driving over a girder bridge. A parallel railway bridge. Another port town in Belgium or Holland. A sign for befehlsstelle lindheim. The motorcycle drivers relax by the side of the road, some lay on the grass beside their motorbikes with their arms behind their heads. The line up of jeeps all raise a signal stick and start off onto the road again. The face of the driver of the jeep behind. The line of jeeps driving down the road, a streetcar passes. The port of Rotterdam, Holland with its cranes and ships in the harbour. Passing pedestrians , an old lady with a white headscarf on. A rubble barge, men dump stones and rubble into the barge from on top of skids out over the water. The awnings over the windows of apartment buildings and businesses. A horse drawn carriage on a dyke beside ditch filled with water, on the other side is a herd of cows.
A fork in the road, highway signs point to Amsterdam, Holland to the left and Haarlem to the right, they take the turning for Haarlem, the Netherlands. A long wide bungalow, a sign 'Verboden Voor Losloopende Honden' in the flower bed. It is a school 'Aerdenhouste Kleuterschool.' A tall clock tower, the time is 1:25, renaissance style, very ornate, a market of cheeses Edam? at the base of the tower, the cheeses are stacked on small sled-like rockers. A man in a boater hat and braces catches a rolling cheese. Several other men in boater hats and suspenders attach the suspenders to one end of the rockers and pull the rockers over the cobblestones. The busy market place, the rockers full of cheeses are lined up in two rows while men fold up canvas and take apart carts. A large box full of cheeses, one of the men in suspenders, jumps on the top of a wheel contraption and his bodyweight pulls the handles down and lifts the box in the air so it hangs between two wheels. Two children move into the picture as the men continue to pack up the market place. A man weighs a box of cheeses.
The coffins of two German Nazi soldiers, an iron cross stands at the head of the two boxes draped with cloth in the middle of a woodland. Pall bearers in full German uniform carry the two coffins, they are draped with the Nazi flag and with flowers. A man stands at attention beside the coffins, the band plays. Straight lines of German troops, in the glade. An officer talks at a makeshift pulpit. The entire entourage, the coffin at the head, surrounded on three sides by the soldiers, an large building in the background. Through the trees, the lines of soldiers at attention during the funeral. Through the greatcoats of the Nazis, one soldier stands beside the coffin with a gun, a hand to the left holds a bell. A soldier takes his hat off. Soldiers stand at attention with their helmets under their arms. Two flatbed lorries move out with the coffins in the back, decorated with flowers.
A cavalry regiment walks their white horses down a trees lined road , turning as one body, they are preceded by a drummer who does a very stylistic drumming and then ends with his arms in the air. The line of horses stops, the drummer comes up to the left of them, still throwing his arms about, the officer in charge is doing much the same thing. Wheels and horses legs pass. The trumpeters salute. The riders on black horses salute as they ride past. Officers in jeeps pass, standing at attention as they move by the podium with the officials on it. The drummer close up, from front and then behind. An officer walks over a lawn to greet another higher up officer who has his arm in a sling. This man inspects the troops at attention, lined up on the front lawn. The officer with the broken arm talks to the troops, obviously a pep talk from the way his arms are moving. He shakes several of their hands. A Nazi flag flies proudly. The marching band in the middle of a field ( very dark ), another officer is here to inspect the troops, he salutes the man in charge and they march over to where the battalion is standing at attention. From behind the soldiers all waiting with their guns at the ready, the officer walks by. Two soldiers goose step across the field carrying the flag in front of the two lines of troops. The group of soldiers listen, flags ,and flag poles and other ceremonial equipment block whatever they are looking at from view. The three soldiers carrying and accompanying the flag goose step away again. They are met in the middle of the field by another group of soldiers, an exchange of the flag takes place, all of this is very stiff and efficient, very German. A lone Nazi soldier stands out against the grey sky. A group of army jeeps parade down a very wet street, the officers riding in them, stand in the moving jeeps and salute. The motorcade continues with motorcycles and sidecars and more jeeps. Children stand by the side of the road facing us as the military vehicles pass in front of them. Another German Soldier outlined against the sky, he salutes as a car passes. Soldiers, obviously newly arrived or leaving if their luggage is anything to go by, climb out of a van, all carrying satchels and duffel bags and sack and suitcases, they wander around uncertainly and then move in towards the train station, a couple pass through the group, eyes down. A train station platform, the soldiers walk around and settle their luggage in the train. Steam puffs out from under the train. Soldiers hang out of the windows waving goodbye to friends on the platform. Hands stick out of the window and the men walking down the platform with the train shake them all. Someone waves a white handkerchief wildly, a girl walk holding the hand of one of the soldiers on the train. Hands wave wildly as the people on the end of the station platform get smaller.
German intertitles: 'traditionsubergabe der ehemaligen kaiserlichen Schutztruppe von deutsch ostafrika durch General von Lettow-Vorbeck an das II battalion des Infanterie Regiments 69'. 'Morgen 8 Uhr flaggenhissung'. The Nazi flag is raised up the flag pole. A two or three storey building, probably the barracks, the flag flies above it. Another flag is raised above the building. '2 Stunden vor der Parade.' A young man lights a pipe, and shakes the match out, he wears what looks like pyjamas. Another boy, half in his uniform, wearing trousers and shirt, buffs and shines his shoes. Another young man, with a dark apron on, shines his boots. A different boy with the same kind of apron on, polishes his knife diligently, he smokes his pipe as well. The communal washroom. The boys dry themselves off and brush their teeth in front of the sinks and mirrors. One boy rubs water over the back of his neck and scrubs his face. In their room, the boys laugh and joke with each other as they get dressed, one boy pulls on his trousers over his long johns. Another boy puts his boots on. Another puts on his coats, buttoning the top buttons first. The first boy emerges from the room. The other boys finish putting their helmets on and follow him. 'Aufmarsch der Truppen und Verbande.' A column of soldiers march through the parade ground, they march around the perimeter. A crowd has gathered and people stand at the edge of the parade ground with umbrellas as the soldiers march, led by a very energetic leader. The band goose steps past the crowd in the very muddy ground. They stop and start doing manoeuvres. Officers walk around to various places in the field. Two approach each other and salute. ' Ankunft der gaste.' Important German nazi generals ( don't recognize any) and officers getting out of cars. General von Lettow-Vorbeck inspects the troops, more marching and band playing, several speeches. East African First World War veterans. The colonial troops. Women's Auxiliary march past the podium.
A Nazi guard at his guard post walks back and forth in front of it. Officers relax at an outside picnic table. One of them talks to the waiter, another probably a press officer sits with no shirt on writing at a typewriter. Washing hangs on a clothes line behind a group of men sitting in a field of grass, an officer sits in front of him talking, they are not in army uniform but appear to be some kind of organised group. They line up for food, which is handed out from the back of a lorry. An oath swearing ceremony, two soldiers touch the mouth of a field gun and hold up their two fingers, speaking an oath. Guards at a road check point, they lift the barrier to let a motorcycle through. Flat empty marsh land. Broken bricks at the corners of a window. Empty and abandoned factories. Soldiers wash, and dress outside at the back of a lorry, one man scrubs his upper body with water from a bucket, another brushes his boots, other eat breakfast. Four German soldiers eat a picnic beside their staff car in a small glade. They eat boiled eggs and bread and things from tins.
The tower of a village church. A village square, a crowd of people, men, women and children all standing together in the square, with their hands above their heads, surrounded by soldiers with guns, one has a pistol out and waves it as a man in a non- German uniform joins the group.
A grave of three Nazi soldiers with the Nazi Cross on the ground above it. A gun in camouflage. A burned out building, obviously at one point a rather large one. A train yard. A bombed station building. A soldier lies on his belly with his gun beside him looking through some binoculars. A tanks, the gun moves up and down. A bombed train. Bombed out houses and buildings, blackened by fire. Refugees, arrested people? Walk along the road guarded by soldiers. A bridge has been blown up, men work at one end to rebuild it. People file in front of a building that has collapsed, the two beside it still stand but are empty. Destroyed buildings more and more. A lorry drives over a wooden bridge, children in dirty clothes watch as it goes by, a man follows it with a bicycle. A dead horse in a field. Men work digging a grave for the horse. The gun behind the camouflage again. A huge cloud of smoke, obviously the gun has gone off. A soldier lies on his stomach looking through binoculars over a rise, he waves his arm forward. Soldiers with guns sprint forward over the field, crouched down, one of them carries a mortar launcher (Panzer Faust?). Soldiers run across the open field. Plants in pots beside destroyed field guns. Houses behind in the distance. A tank on the side of the road. Another round building, three stories, a young boy runs in front of the house. Refugees? driving in carts pulled by horses or donkeys travel along the road, the people look bedraggled and messy and very sad and defeated. A long line of soldiers, possibly prisoners of war, (POW's), walk along the side of the road guarded by German soldiers. A heap of burnt twisted metal. Small graveyards.


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