Social networks are discussing an almost unnoticed event: the documentary film of the famous TV journalist and historian Nikolay Svanidze "Ghetto", which was quietly and almost shyly shown on the night of August 30 by the Rossiya channel. The film's announcement says: “Ghettos in Warsaw, Lodz, Vilnius, Minsk, Vitebsk, Terezin and Tsarskoe Selo. A universal mechanism for creating a ghetto. Nikolay Svanidze's new film features everything about life and death in the ghetto: music, literature, theater, lectures, language learning, love and hate. The film is based on the memories of survivors, the diaries of the deceased, archival materials".
Those who have seen this work call it outstanding. So, the historian and public figure Vera Afanasyeva appeals to the readers of her channel:
“Friends, do not miss the documentary film “Ghetto” by Nikolay Svanidze, which was shown on the night air of the channel“ Russia-1”.
I've just looked and even revise individual fragments, not believing my eyes. On the main propaganda channel!
This is a film of the level of "Ordinary Fascism", it contains only footage of the chronicle and the voice-over of the author.
This is a film about the crimes of Nazism and the crime of cooperation with Nazism. This is a film about the inhumanity of Hitlerism and the meanness of Stalinism. This is a film about the falsification of history, demonstrating evidence of friendship and intercourse between two regimes, for which the people, the people, the population are just pieces of meat.
Take a look.
Look at these embraces of Soviet and Hitlerite diplomats and generals, look at the footage of the joint Soviet-German parades in Brest and Lvov, look at the unique footage from May 1, 1941 (!!!) of the year from Red Square - when the official delegation of the Nazis.
This movie is a must see. Although it's scary to watch it..."
Journalist Dmitry Yezhkov was also surprised that Svanidze's film went almost unnoticed and added interesting details to what he saw:
“Have you seen people talk about him somewhere, discuss him? I personally learned about him from a Ukrainian living in America.
It turned out that you can sometimes watch something decent on the Russia-1 channel. This is a very high-quality, completely forgotten today TV journalism, absolutely not politically correct at the present time, with an excellent chronicle (where did they get it?) And Svanidze's very accurate and very personal voiceover text. In general, for me this film is an event.
Svanidze talks about life in Jewish ghettos during the Second World War - about Warsaw, Lodz, Minsk, Vitebsk. He remembers his grandmother who died in occupied Minsk. But the most interesting shots are about Terezin. Do you know what this is?
Terezin is a small town near Prague, which was completely turned into a ghetto during the war. By pure coincidence, just a couple of weeks ago, I watched a German film from 1944, which went down in history as "The Fuehrer Gives the Jews a City" (the official name is different). This film is just about Terezin, and Svanidze also remembers him.
The life of the inhabitants of the Terezin ghetto, according to the film, was not life, but raspberries. Here they are at work during the day: women at sewing machines, men in workshops. Everyone smiles and even looks quite plump. In the evening, some sit down to books in neat hostels. Others, putting on snow-white knee-highs, play football. They play dashingly, by the way. Not worse than Zenit. And older men gather in the beautiful Terezin library (the city is ancient, it used to be a castle). They talk, argue about something.
At Svanidze's house, I saw shots that were not in my version of the film (the whole film has not survived, only individual parts). They wear beautifully, even the fashionably dressed Jewish population of the ghetto is sitting in a restaurant. They drink something, eat something. And of course they laugh. There are no yellow stars on their clothes.
Of course, this is all a production: people were fed, given good clothes and made to smile for the camera. The film was directed by Kurt Herron (real name Gerson), a German Jew. Since 1942, he himself had been in the same Terezin, about which he was filming his film. Today little is remembered about him. But in vain. As an actor, Gerron starred in "Blue Angel" - the first feature film by Leni Riefenstahl. As a director, he was the first to start filming Heinz Ryumann, the future superstar of the Third Reich. In fact, I opened it. Ryumann, by the way, survived everyone and managed to film even with Wim Wenders in "Sky over Berlin - 2". (By the way, do you know that the great humanist Fellini filmed Lida Baarova, practically the official mistress of Goebbels?).
So, about Kurt Herron. In September 1944, he finished filming. And in October he was transported from Terezin to Auschwitz with a note in his personal file: "Return is undesirable." He never came back. In November, he flew into one of the chimneys of Auschwitz.
And after Herron, everyone who worked with him on the film, and hundreds of people who starred in it, left for Auschwitz - every single one. And not because they made a bad film, but in order not to leave witnesses to this propaganda coven. Can you imagine? This is where the drama is: people smiled and danced foxtrots for the camera, hoping that it would be credited to them, and they would live a little longer. But it turned out exactly the opposite.
And now the moral. I think you may not know anything about Terezin. It is absolutely possible not to watch "The Fuehrer Gives the Jews a City": I will watch these films for you and tell you everything. But now, it is not good to pass by a grain of pure and real, and as it seems to me, very much suffered personally, like Svanidze's film "Ghetto". Run quickly to YouTube, look, so that later you can say that you watched it at night, on the Russia-1 channel.
Ilya Altman, co-chairman of the Holocaust Scientific and Educational Center, also gave his assessment to the film:
“I watched this film as a spectator, fascinated by the heartfelt story of Nikolay Karlovich, who appeared in the frame on the former streets of the ghetto, in the museum and archive depositories of Belarus, Poland, Lithuania, the Czech Republic. A special, trustworthy voice, personal involvement (the author's grandmother and his family died in the Minsk ghetto) somewhat resembled (but did not repeat!) The style of Mikhail Romm in Ordinary Fascism.
The vivid facts of the personal stories of the victims echo the carefully selected facts of the creation and circumstances of everyday life in the ghettos in different parts of Germany-occupied Europe. The author tries to avoid well-known facts and examples, figures are almost not heard, the dynamics of the narrative are preserved, the amateur filming of the trip of a family of American Jews to relatives in Lithuania on the eve of World War II, unknown (at least to me), fits well into the film's outline. The author's analysis of the activities of the joint Soviet-German commission on population exchange after the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact is very interesting.
And yet this film evokes not only emotions and admiration for Svanidze the journalist, but also questions for Svanidze the historian. (...)
The author of one of the most widespread and often criticized methods of superimposing footage and photography (in the Mogilev ghetto, execution in Vinnitsa, execution of Jewish women in Liepaja, burial of corpses in the Bergen-Belsen camp) did not escape the story of other settlements and events. (...)
According to the author, the participation of Jewish police officers in the ghetto in raiding children is an example of the killing of Jews by Jews. There really was such a single case of actions of the Jewish police with weapons in their hands - when a detachment was sent from the Vilnius ghetto to Ashmyany, destroying several thousand local Jews. But that's not what the movie was about. All the leaders of the Judenrat are presented as accomplices of the Nazis. And it is unlikely that the viewer understood from the author's text that the head of the Warsaw ghetto, Adam Chernyakov, did not just commit suicide, but did so after learning that the Jews selected with his participation “for resettlement to the East” were exterminated in Treblinka. (...)
But our main complaint is not in particulars, which are important for professional researchers and educators. The history of the ghetto is a trinity: destruction, resistance, salvation. Surprisingly, neither about the uprising in the Warsaw ghetto, nor about the underground workers of the Minsk ghetto, who managed to transport several thousand prisoners into the forests, including with weapons in their hands, nor about the call to resistance of the underground workers of the Vilnius ghetto on January 1, 1942 - “We will not go like sheep to the slaughter! " 3 not a word is said ... Like hundreds of the Righteous Among the Nations who rescued Jews from ghettos, as well as about the Red Army, which liberated the first ghettos in Europe during the Battle of Moscow - in Kaluga and Ilyino - and then saved the Jews of Nalchik and Transnistria. I am sure that all these facts are well known to Nikolay Karlovich and there was simply not enough time to cover them in the film.
The film "Ghetto" is worthy not only for a serious discussion of experts, but also for showing in prime time..."