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

Tomasz Łysak


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.


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

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Apparatus. ISSN 2365-7758