“The Second Life” of the Theresienstadt Films after the Second World War


  • Eva Strusková




Irena Dodalová, Kurt Gerron, Michael Bornkamp, Přemysl Schönbach, Prague, Ghetto Theresienstadt, Security Services Archive (former StB Archive), Theresienstadt. Ein Dokumentarfilm aus dem jüdischen Siedlungsgebiet, Holocaust film studies, film archives


Films shot in the ghetto of Theresienstadt between 1942 and 1945 were long considered lost. Several fragments were found and to this day remain scattered in European and Israeli archives. The results of historical research over decades and other newly revealed facts enable us now for the first time to reconstruct how different film fragments made their way into international archives after 1945. Recently found documents in the Archive of Security Services (former archive of the StB) in Prague became a new source of information about the production and later use of the propaganda film Theresienstadt. Ein Dokumentarfilm aus dem jüdischen Siedlungsgebiet / Theresienstadt. A Documentary Film about the Jewish Settlement (1944-45). They are connected with a Prague trial in the mid-1960s relating to the illegal transfer of fragments of this film to West Germany. Based on archival studies this article reconstructs the post-war history of the film materials from the Theresienstadt ghetto, which has become a prime source for studying the Holocaust. The study contains two tables tracing the “second life” of the film materials in different archives.

Author Biography

Eva Strusková

Eva Strusková is a film historian, film critic and archivist. After studying at Charles University in Prague (PhD) she worked on film and film history in various positions and institutions (at the Central Film Rental Institute, Czechoslovak Broadcasting, and the National Film Archive). In the nineties she began to work on oral history as a curator of the Collection of Sound documents at the National Film Archive. She has published on various aspects of Czech cinema and is author of the book: The Dodals. Pioneers of Czech Animated film. Recently she has been researching film in the Terezín ghetto publishing her findings in the Journal of Film Preservation (“Ghetto Theresienstadt 1942. The Message of the Film Fragments”) and in an edited volume titled Der Letzte der Ungerechten. Der “Judenälteste” Benjamin Murmelstein in Filmen 1942 - 1975 (“Film Ghetto Theresienstadt: Die Suche nach Zusammenhängen”). With. Jana Šplíchalová she co-curated the exhibition “Truth and Lies. Filming in the Terezin Ghetto” in Prague (2013) and in Terezín (2014).




How to Cite

Strusková, Eva. 2016. “‘The Second Life’ of the Theresienstadt Films After the Second World War”. Apparatus. Film, Media and Digital Cultures of Central and Eastern Europe, no. 2-3 (May). https://doi.org/10.17892/app.2016.0002.28.

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