Westerbork Film – full version (RVD)

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The Westerbork Film – a silent film – is unique…the only authentic documentary footage filmed in a Nazi camp – a waiting room for death in the Netherlands for more than 100,000 Jews, and Roma, Sinti, and resistance workers. A documentary filmed 75 years ago, spring 1944, in the Westerbork transit camp, by the German-Jewish camp prisoner Rudolf Werner Breslauer, who had been working already some 2 years as a photographer in the camp. A ‘Kulturfilm’ commissioned by camp commander, SS-Obersturmbannführer, Albert Konrad Gemmeker, to convince the Gestapo headquarters of Westerbork’s vital production value.

The Westerbork camp had been set up by the Dutch government before the war in Holland, in 1939, as a central refugees camp for Jewish refugees from Nazi-Germany.
In 1942 , when the Nazi’s decided to start ‘Entjüdung’ of the Netherlands, they took over the camp and named it Polizeiliches Judendurchgangslager Westerbork , for use as central transit camp for deportation of mainly Jews, and Roma, Sinti, and resistance people to eastern Europe.

Rudolf Breslauer started filming March 1944 – around the same time the camp status changed to ‘Arbeitslager’. (Ref. 1)

This film on the daily life of the Westerbork prisoners was added in 2017 to the Memory of the World Register of Unesco. (Ref. 2)

Iconic is the image of Settela – the girl with the headscarf -between the wagon doors of the deportation train to Auschwitz.
These few seconds are shown in the 1 minute slow-motion film Settela at Settela.com.

Images of the deportation train have been used in many documentaries over the years – such as our 2012 documentary ‘Transport XX to Auschwitz’.

Actually , however, the Westerbork film has as yet not been presented online or elsewhere as a full film – only in parts : as either Acte 1 , Acte 2 , Acte 3 , or Acte 4 for download or for streaming separately , either in low quality, small format (and generally just Acte 1) or with a rough overall edit (color-exposure grading) resulting in loss of details.
I therefore decided to first present the full film , all 4 episodes , unedited except for cropping black bars, as the : Westerbork Film ~ Full version RVD…and later focus on adaptations.

What is known as the Westerbork Film , actually is a simple montage of the available raw film footage – 9 reels of film – handed over by the (Dutch) Filmmuseum in 1986 to the Dutch National Centre for Information (the Rijksvoorlichtingsdienst, RVD).
The RVD conservator glued together these available fragments – and this ‘product’ in 4 parts (Acte 1 , Acte 2 , Acte 3 , and Acte 4) has become known as the “Westerbork film”.
Reels number 1 and 2 were glued together in ‘Acte 1’, reels 3 and 4 in Acte 2, reels 5 and 6 in Acte 3, and reels 7, 8 and 9 in Acte 4 (see below).

Conservation of footage

In the early years after the war, the Westerbork film footage travelled via different routes, roughly, in part leaving the camp with ex camp commander Gemmeker, and another part ‘directly’ from the camp … to land partly in the nearby Drents Museum and partly in eg. the Department of Justice and next finally in a collection started in 1946 in the ‘RIOD’ Rijksinstituut voor Oorlogsdocumentatie (National Institute for War Documentation) – now ‘NIOD’ – Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies.
The RIOD glued fragments together probably, and fragments were extracted too, and lent for use eg. in the 1948 trial against Rauter, the trial against Gemmeker, and for use in the 60s dutch TV series ‘De bezetting’ (The Occupation) presented by Loe de Jong (journalist, historian, and RIOD director from 1945-1979). For conservation this ‘RIOD film’ went on loan in 1958 to the Filmmuseum (now EYE Film Museum), and in 1986 the footage went to the RVD.

The RVD did not receive all footage from the Filmmuseum – the fragments extracted by the RIOD for use in the trials and TV series were lacking and two reels just remained in the Filmmuseum vault.

Tracing extracted fragments , and the discovery of new images

Reel D1596 – The 1948 Dutch Polygoon cinema news extracts were not all assembled back in the Westerbork film reels – see the recent post 20190520 ~ Westerbork Film in ‘Proces Rauter’ 1948 at settela.com .
Also , not all footage given on loan for that ‘Polygoon news’ ended up in that news item. That ‘Polygoon’ footage copied onto 35 mm film – both the used and non-used fragments – were kept in the Dutch Filmmusuem on a so-called reel number D1596.

Research published in the 1997 Dutch book ‘Kamp Westerbork gefilmd’ by Koert Broersma and Gerard Rossing (editors Dirk Mulder and Ben Prinsen; ISBN 9023232658) traced the extracted film fragments, and further re-discovered film fragments with comparatively poorer quality on two reels – F1015 and F1014 (Ref. 1) :

Reel F1015 — F1015 (known till 1958 as reel 9a ; but actually the 10th reel of the Westerbork film) contains 9 scenes including 2 new scenes (not in the RVD Westerbork film): the religious service held March 5, 1944 in the Grote Zaal (Great Hall) and the scene of a woman on a ladder working on a signpost. This reel had remained in the Filmmuseum vault.

Reel F1014 seemed lost in the archives of the Filmmuseum and was denoted then ‘Afvalmateriaal/uitschot’ , that is ‘Trash’.

All footage is now kept at the Netherlands Institute of Image and Sound .

Below list of shots of the Westerbork Film (Ref. 3) :

Westerbork Act 1 (# 02-1167-01), 16 mm, silent, 21’05 “
– 1. Inbound transport from Amsterdam, March 1944: 1 min 37 sec.
– 2. Inbound transport from Vught, March 20, 1944: 2 min 09 sec.
– 3. Outbound transport to Bergen-Belsen and Auschwitz, May 19, 1944: 4 min 41 sec.
– 4. Aircraft disassembly, April / May 1944: 11 min 23 sec.

Westerbork Act 2 (# 02-1167-02), 16 mm, silent, 21’41 “
– 5. Disassembly of old batteries and manufacture of new batteries, April / May 1944: 3 min 03 sec.
– 6. Separation of layers of silver paper, April / May 1944: 1 min 22 sec.
– 7. Clothing factory, April / May 1944: 2 min 51 sec.
– 8. Toy factory, April / May 1944: 3 min 28 sec.
– 9. Furniture workshop, April / May 1944: 2 min 14 sec.
– 10. Metalworking shop / Forge, April / May 1944, 2 min 47 sec.
– 11. Manufacture of brushes, April / May 1944: 43 sec.
– 12. Shoemaking, April / May 1944: 1 min 38 sec.
– 13. Manufacture of handbags, April / May 1944: 1 min 09 sec.
– 14. Manufacture of soles and gloves, April / May 1944: 33 sec.
– 15. Weaving and repairing stockings, April / May 1944: 1 min 25 sec.

Westerbork Act 3 (# 02-1167-03), 16 mm, silent, 18’03 “
– 16. Cufflinks factory, April / May 1944: 1 min 16 sec.
– 17. Clothing factory, April / May 1944: 32 sec.
– 18. Laundry / ironing, April / May 1944: 1 min 18 sec.
– 19. Medical laboratory, April / May 1944: 45 sec.
– 20. Dental Clinic, April / May 1944: 25 sec.
– 21. Unloading construction materials for barracks / unloading mine carts with bricks, April / May 1944: 1 min 33 sec.
– 22. Construction greenhouse , installation and watering plants, April / May 1944: 1 min 46 sec.
– 23. By narrow gauge train to Oranjekanaal / jetty pile driving / unloading cargo ship with bricks / loading mine carts / return to camp, April / May 1944: 4 min 33 sec.
– 24. Visit to the camp farm, April / May 1944: 4 min 39 sec.

Westerbork Act 4 (# 02-1167-04), 16 mm, silent, 21’30 “
– 25. Visit camp farm (continued), April / May 1944: 2 min 30 sec.
– 26. Return / visit agriculture / plowing and planting potatoes, April / May 1944: 4 min 20 sec.
– 27. Arrival camp / unloading mine carts with bricks, April / May 1944: 1 min. 20 sec
– 28. Construction purification plant, April / May 1944: 52 sec.
– 29. Felling and sawing trees near Assen, April / May 1944: 4 min 50 sec.
– 30. Religious service in the Great Hall, March 5, 1944: 6 sec.
– 31. Football match at the roll call area (Appellplatz), April / May 1944: 2 min 04 sec.
– 32. Women exercising, April / May 1944: 1 min.
– 33. Revue night – ‘Bunter Abend’ – in the Great Hall, April / May 1944: 4 min 05 sec.

Rudolf Breslauer and family

Rudolf Breslauer (1904-1944) was in Westerbork for over two and a half years with his wife Bella Weismann, daughter Ursula, and sons Mischa and Stephan.
In Sep 1944 they were transported to Auschwitz via Theresiënstadt, and murdered in the gas chamber, except Ursula who survived the war and went to Israel in 1948, where she and her husband Chaim Moses set up their own company. Her name has since been Chanita Moses – she has children and many grandchildren.

 

FR (French)

Le film de Westerbork (Ref. 3, 4)

Durant le printemps 1944, le déporté juif Rudolf Breslauer a immortalisé dans un film le quotidien du camp de transit de Westerbork. La fonction de Westerbork était de rassembler des Juifs romani et néerlandais pour le transport vers des camps de concentration nazis. Le film a été commandé par le commandant du camp allemand Albert Gemmeker. Gemmeker voulait produire un film professionnel visant à montrer la valeur économique du camp.

Breslauer a filmé les déportations qui avaient lieu le mardi vers d’autres camps de concentration, mais la plupart des images dépeignent des ‘instants de normalité’ tels que des hommes et des femmes en bonne santé travaillant dans des ateliers ou faisant du sport, des enfants à l’école, ou des scènes se déroulant à l’hôpital, au cabaret et même lors d’une messe à l’église. Bien que le film de Westerbork n’ait jamais été achevé, la plupart des séquences brutes ont été conservées.

Des extraits de ce film ont été largement utilisés dans des documentaires, films et autres actualités filmées depuis 1948. Les séquences montrant les déportations et tout particulièrement celle où l’on voit une jeune Sinté, Settela Steinbach, observant l’objectif à travers les portes d’un wagon, sont devenues emblématiques du programme d’extermination systématique mis en place par les nazis.

Les scènes du Westerbork film sont listées ci-dessous :

Westerbork Acte 1 (# 02-1167-01), 16 mm, muet, 21’05 “
– 1. Transport entrant d’Amsterdam, mars 1944: 1 min 37 sec.
– 2. Transport entrant de Vught, 20 mars 1944: 2 min 09 sec.
– 3. Transport sortant vers Bergen-Belsen et Auschwitz, le 19 mai 1944: 4 min 41 sec.
– 4. Démontage d’avion, avril / mai 1944: 11 min 23 sec.

Westerbork Acte 2 (# 02-1167-02), 16 mm, muet, 21’41”
– 5. Démontage de piles anciennes et fabrication de nouvelles piles, avril / mai 1944: 3 min 03 sec.
– 6. Séparation des couches de papier d’argent, avril / mai 1944: 1 min 22 sec.
– 7. Atelier de confection vêtement, avril / mai 1944: 2 min 51 sec.
– 8. Usine de jouets, avril / mai 1944: 3 min 28 sec.
– 9. Atelier de meubles, avril / mai 1944: 2 min 14 sec.
– 10. Atelier de travail des métaux / Atelier de forgeron, Avril / Mai 1944, 2 min 47 sec.
– 11. Fabrication de brosses, avril / mai 1944: 43 sec.
– 12. Atelier de fabrication de chaussures, avril / mai 1944: 1 min 38 sec.
– 13. Fabrication de sacs en cuir, avril / mai 1944: 1 min 09 sec.
– 14. Fabrication de semelles et de gants, avril / mai 1944: 33 sec.
– 15. Tissage et réparation de bas, avril / mai 1944: 1 min 25 sec.

Westerbork Acte 3 (# 02-1167-03), 16 mm, muet, 18’03”
– 16. Fabrication de boutons de manchette, avril / mai 1944: 1 min 16 sec.
– 17. Atelier confection, avril / mai 1944: 32 sec.
– 18. Blanchisserie / repassage, avril / mai 1944: 1 min 18 sec.
– 19. Laboratoire médical, avril / mai 1944: 45 sec.
– 20. Clinique dentaire, avril / mai 1944: 25 sec.
– 21. Déchargement de matériels pour la construction de baraques / déchargement de wagonnets de mine avec des briques, avril / mai 1944: 1 min 33 sec.
– 22. Construction d’une serre et l’installation et l’arrosage des plantes, avril / mai 1944: 1 min 46 sec.
– 23. Par train à voie étroite à Oranjekanaal / construction de jetée / déchargement d’un cargo avec des briques / chargement des wagonnets de mine / retour au camp, avril / mai 1944: 4 min 33 sec.
– 24. Visite à la ferme du camp, avril / mai 1944: 4 min 39 sec

Westerbork Acte 4 (# 02-1167-04), 16 mm, muet, 21’30”
– 25. Visite à la ferme du camp (suite), avril / mai 1944: 2 min 30 sec.
– 26. Retour / visite de l’agriculture / labourer et planter des pommes de terre, avril / mai 1944: 4 min 20 sec.
– 27. Retour au camp / déchargement de briques des wagonnets de mine, avril / mai 1944: 1 min 20 sec.
– 28. Construction de l’installation de purification, avril / mai 1944: 52 sec
– 29. Abattre et scier des arbres près d’Assen, avril / mai 1944: 4 min 50 sec.
– 30. Service religieux dans la Grande Salle, 5 mars 1944: 6 sec.
– 31. Match de football sur la place d’appel (Appellplatz), avril / mai 1944: 2 min 04 sec.
– 32. Femmes faisant de l’exercice, avril / mai 1944: 1 min.
– 33. Soirée Revue – Bunter Abend – dans la Grande Salle, mars/avril 1944: 4 min 05 sec.

NL (dutch)

Hieronder de scènes van de Westerbork film (Ref.3) :

Westerbork Akte 1 (# 02-1167-01), 16 mm, zonder geluid, 21’05 “
– 1. Binnenkomend transport vanuit Amsterdam, maart 1944: 1 min 37 sec.
– 2. Binnenkomend transport vanuit kamp Vught, 20 maart 1944: 2 min 09 sec.
– 3. Uitgaand transport naar Bergen-Belsen en Auschwitz, 19 mei 1944: 4 min 41 sec.
– 4. Vliegtuig demontage, april / mei 1944: 11 min 23 sec.

Westerbork Akte 2 (# 02-1167-02), 16 mm, zonder geluid, 21’41 “
– 5. Demontage oude batterijen en productie nieuwe batterijen, april / mei 1944: 3 min 03 sec.
– 6. Scheiden van lagen zilverpapier, april / mei 1944: 1 min 22 sec.
– 7. Confectiebedrijf, april / mei 1944: 2 min. 51 sec.
– 8. Speelgoedfabriek, april / mei 1944: 3 min. 28 sec.
– 9. Meubelmakerij, april / mei 1944: 2 min. 14 sec.
– 10. Bankwerkerij / smederij, april / mei 1944, 2 min 47 sec.
– 11. Borstelmakerij, april / mei 1944: 43 sec.
– 12. Schoenmakerij, april / mei 1944: 1 min. 38 sec.
– 13. Tassenmakerij, april / mei 1944: 1 min. 09 sec.
– 14. Zolen en handschoenen vervaardigen, april / mei 1944: 33 sec.
– 15. Kousen weven en reparatie, april / mei 1944: 1 min. 25 sec.

Westerbork Akte 3 (# 02-1167-03), 16 mm, zonder geluid, 18’03 “
– 16. Manchetknopen fabriek, april / mei 1944: 1 min. 16 sec.
– 17. Kleermakerij, april / mei 1944: 32 sec.
– 18. Wasserij / strijkerij, april / mei 1944: 1 min. 18 sec.
– 19. Medisch laboratorium, april / mei 1944: 45 sec.
– 20. Tandheelkundige kliniek, april / mei 1944: 25 sec.
– 21. Lossen bouwmateriaal barakken / lossen lorries met bakstenen, april / mei 1944: 1 min. 33 sec.
– 22. Bouw broeikas / plantjes in kweekkas zetten en sproeien, april / mei 1944: 1 min. 46 sec.
– 23. Tocht met smalspoor treintje naar Oranjekanaal / heien van aanlegsteiger / lossen vrachtschip met stenen / lorries laden / terugkeren naar kamp, ​​april / mei 1944: 4 min 33 sec.
– 24. Bezoek aan de kampboerderij, april / mei 1944: 4 min. 39 sec.

Westerbork Akte 4 (# 02-1167-04), 16 mm, zonder geluid, 21’30 “
– 25. Bezoek kampboerderij (vervolg), april / mei 1944: 2 min. 30 sec.
– 26. Terugkeren / bezoek akkerbouw / ploegen en aardappelen poten, april / mei 1944: 4 min. 20 sec.
– 27. Aankomst kamp / lossen van lorries met bakstenen, april / mei 1944: 1 min. 20 sec.
– 28. Bouw zuiveringsinstallatie, april / mei 1944: 52 sec.
– 29. Kappen, vellen, zagen van bomen in de buurt van Assen, april / mei 1944: 4 min. 50 sec.
– 30. Religieuze dienst in de Grote Zaal, 5 maart 1944: 6 sec.
– 31. Voetbalwedstrijd op de appèlplaats, april / mei 1944: 2 min. 04 sec.
– 32. Gymnastiek dames, april / mei 1944: 1 min.
– 33. Revue avond – Bunter Abend – in de Grote Zaal, maart/april 1944: 4 min 05 sec.

 

References

1 ‘Kamp Westerbork gefilmd’ by Koert Broersma and Gerard Rossing (editors Dirk Mulder and Ben Prinsen; ISBN 9023232658

2. Unesco.org – Memory of the World – Westerbork films
(accessed 20190605)

3. Gerard Rossing and Koert Boersma, Kamp Westerbork Gefilmd (1997), pp. 86-88.

4. Unesco.org – Mémoire du monde – Le film de Westerbork
(accessed 20190605)

Credit

EN – ‘Westerbork Film’ , montage of the Westerbork reels 1-4 (RVD cat. 02-1167-01, 02-1167-02, 02-1167-03, 02-1167-04 courtesy of Nederlands Instituut voor Beeld en Geluid | OpenImages). Footage filmed by Rudolf Breslauer in 1944 , Camp Westerbork, Netherlands. Westerbork Film (20190605) Michel van der Burg | Settela.com – CC BY 4.0 .

FR – ‘Westerbork Film’, montage des bobines Westerbork 1 à 4 (RVD cat. 02-1167-01, 02-1167-02, 02-1167-03, 02-1167-04) grâce à Nederlands Instituut voor Beeld en Geluid | OpenImages). Images filmées par Rudolf Breslauer en 1944, Camp Westerbork, Pays-Bas. Westerbork Film (20190605) Michel van der Burg | Settela.com – CC BY 4.0.

NL – ‘Westerbork Film’ , montage van de Westerbork aktes 1-4 (RVD # 02-1167-01, 02-1167-02, 02-1167-03, 02-1167-04 met dank aan het Nederlands Instituut voor Beeld en Geluid | OpenBeelden). Gefilmd door  Rudolf Breslauer in 1944 , Kamp Westerbork, Nederland. Westerbork Film (20190605) Michel van der Burg | Settela.com – CC BY 4.0 .

Updates

20190605 – Updates including the other footage and more information will follow in both this post and new posts on the Settala.com site.

20190607 – French section added with Unesco introductory text plus ‘Les scènes du Westerbork film…’  ;  references modified ; credits FR translation.

20190610 – Dutch section added with list of scenes based on Ref 3.

20190611 – Corrections language/translations all lists of scenes NL/EN/FR