The Posthumous Life of Nazi Propaganda. Postwar Films on the Warsaw Ghetto


  • Tomasz Łysak University of Warsaw



Marek Edelman, Warsaw Ghetto, Nazi propaganda, postwar film, voice-over, re-editing, animated documentary, CGI, Holocaust


Nazi footage of the Warsaw Ghetto came to define the visual commemoration of the Holocaust at the cost of downplaying its ideological bias. Several methods have been employed in order to achieve this:  re-editing the footage with an added voice-over narration  by an expert whose authority questions the veracity of the footage as a historical depiction of the ghetto; cinematographic conventions; the novel technology of digital image manipulation, and animated documentary. The films discussed in this article  were produced by Polish documentarians, and several international productions have been added for comparative purposes. The essay presents a historical overview of cinematographic approaches to found footage: from newsreel-style reliance on voice-over to open questioning of the veracity of Nazi images. Finally, an animated documentary on the Warsaw Ghetto is presented as a challenge to conventional methods of dealing with inherited propaganda.

Table of contents image from Jolanta Dylewska, Kronika powstania w getcie warszawskim wg Marka Edelmana, 1993. Image courtesy of the director.

Author Biography

Tomasz Łysak, University of Warsaw

Dr. Tomasz Łysak, University of Warsaw, received his PhD in Philosophy from the Polish Academy of Sciences. His work focuses on representations of the Holocaust in relation to trauma studies and psychoanalysis. He has held fellowships at the University of Washington, Seattle, the University of Edinburgh, and the University of Chicago. He has been published in Polin. Studies in Polish Jewry, Kwartalnik Filmowy, Slovo and in a number of edited volumes. He has been awarded a research grant from the National Science Centre entitled “From Newsreel to Post-Traumatic Film: Documentary and Artistic Films on the Holocaust” (2013-2015).




How to Cite

Łysak, Tomasz. 2016. “The Posthumous Life of Nazi Propaganda. Postwar Films on the Warsaw Ghetto”. Apparatus. Film, Media and Digital Cultures of Central and Eastern Europe, no. 2-3 (May).

Similar Articles

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 > >> 

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.