PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS THE SAME FILM AS OUR DVD, "THE YELLOW STAR", EXCEPT IN ENGLISH AND WITHOUT THE SUPPLEMENTARY FILM DESCRIBED UNDER THAT LISTING.
THE HOLOCAUST STORY: 1933 - 1945
By the time the Germans were defeated at the hands of the Allies in May 1945 at the end of the Second World War, almost six million Jews from over 30 nations had been exterminated through hunger, disease, mass shootings and poison gas, among other means. How did it come to pass? This film, using extensive film footage -- most photographed by the Nazis themselves -- tells the story of the persecution and eventual destruction of the Jews during the years of the Third Reich. Some parts of the footage will be easily recognized from its usage in other documentaries; the difference here, however, is the expanded use of that coverage, showing scenes that have not been shown in depth before. Be advised, that quite a bit of it is very graphic and disturbing. Even for those with a strong background in Holocaust studies, there is film footage of interest here. Overall, the quality is very good. This film can serve as both a primer on the subject and a supplement for the historian interested in the topic.
ATROCITIES IN THE RUSSIAN CAMPAIGN, 1941 - 1942:
This short film details a few of the massacres carried out by the NKVD against Ukrainian locals and German POWs in Russia during the opening years of Operation Barbarossa. While this ten-minute clip was originally meant to serve as an apologetic for German crimes in the Ukraine and Russia, the very first part of this short piece details the German "liberation" of Brygidki Prison in Lwów in June 1941, which actually details the opening phase of the pogrom against the city's Jews shortly thereafter (though it's highly doubtful that's what the modern-day compiler of the film intended to convey).
Immediately after entering Lwów (Lviv; Lvov'), the city inhabitants ran to the three main prisons in the hopes of finding their relatives. The Germans threw open the gates of the prison and the scale of NKVD massacres conducted by the retreating Soviets were revealed. A report drafted by a judge placed the blame solely on the city's Jews, who were seen as being overall sympathetic to the Soviet occupiers. In fact, given both Polish and Ukrainian anti-Semitism prior to the Soviet takeover of the city in 1939, many Jews did indeed support the Communists in the hopes they would obtain equality in society and also because where the Soviets went, the Germans didn't. A brief occupation of Lwów in 1939 by German soldiers, who carried out small-scale murders and abuse of the Jews, convinced the local Jewish population, that their protection lay solely in the Soviet occupation forces, which entered the city soon thereafter as part of the territorial division of eastern Poland agreed to by the two occupiers shortly before. Unfortunately, this newfound "protection" not only led to a widespread support by the Jewish populace, but to a large number of Jews taking advantage of their elevated status to join the Soviet security and political forces. It wasn't long before the majority of Jews in occupied Ukraine withdrew their support of the occupiers and some of them even tried to smuggle themselves out of Ukraine and into the Generalgouvernment, despite warnings from the Germans themselves, that they would be murdered there.
Newly "liberated" by the Germans and falling back on old hatreds of the Jews and the belief, that the Jews supported the Soviets and were complicit in the murder of the prisoners by retreating NKVD forces in June 1941, Ukrainian nationalists had little problem instigating a popular pogrom against the city's Jews with the support of Einsatzgruppe C. That a significant number of the massacred prisoners were Jews was, to them, irrelevant. The opening of two other prisons on Łąckiego and Zamarstynowska Street only helped to fan the flames of hate.
The local Jews were first rounded up and forced to disinter those corpses, which had been buried in the prison courtyard after torture and execution. Then they had to remove the dead bodies, which had been left in cells, because the NKVD didn't have the time to bury them after hastily shooting them or throwing grenades into the locked cells before fleeing the advancing Germans. The NKVD attempted to set the prison on fire to destroy the evidence, but were, for the most part, unsuccessful. Among the tortured and executed was a priest by the name of Zynoviy Kovalyk, whom the NKVD arrested in December for the sermon he gave on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8). While they shot the rest of the prisoners, they decided to treat Kovalyk like his Lord by crucifying him in front of his fellow prisoners. According to witnesses, the most terrible sight was that of seeing the priest nailed to the prison wall. Even worse, someone had slit his belly open and placed a dead human fetus inside of it.
Shortly after this public humiliation of the city's Jews, some 7,000 of them were rounded up and shot by local Ukrainians in revenge for the prison killings. However, prior to that happening, a number of Jews were publicly beaten --- some with crowbars --- dragged by their hair through the streets, raped and cruelly taunted by the local populace, including underaged teenage boys. Lest one mistakenly believe that this was a one-time, mass hysteria caused by the sight of the massacred inmates, not three weeks later, the scene was repeated after a thorough orchestration by OUN nationalists with the blessing and help of the SS.
The opening part of this clip shows the city's Jews forced to exhume and stack massacred inmated on the prison grounds.
DVD-R IS IN ENGLISH. Approximately 82 minutes + 10 min. clip. Can be played in any DVD player (zero region).
PLEASE NOTE THAT SWITCHABLE (SOFT) SUBTITLES WILL NOT SHOW UP WHEN VIEWING THE SAMPLE BELOW. IF YOU SEE SUBTITLES, THEN THEY ARE HARD-ENCODED (meaning, they cannot be turned off when viewing the film):