Filmed Documents. Methods in Researching Archival Films from the Holocaust


  • Efrat Komisar Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center



Poland, Netherlands, Nowe Miasto nad Pilicą, Płońsk, Będzin, Veendam, Franeker, Holocaust, Pre-war, Archival footage, film makers, Propaganda, Private Films, home movies, ephemeral films, Jewish Communities, Historical Sources.


Holocaust-related archival films document pre-war Jewish life and the fate of the Jews during the Second World War and, to some extent, during its aftermath as well. These materials – propaganda films, amateur films, documentary films – capture events at the time of their occurrence, and are therefore an invaluable historical source and should be treated as such. They contain many layers of information that must be examined. Comprehensive research is essential in determining the motivation and ideology of the person behind the camera, identifying places and events, creating the geographical frame, and, in some instances, even identifying situations and people. The more information available on a film, the greater its importance as a historical document. This article will focus on working methods of researching archival footage, and will explore examples of such research conducted on films catalogued in the Yad Vashem Film Archive.

Author Biography

Efrat Komisar, Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center

Head of Historical Film Footage Section, Archives Division Yad Vashem




How to Cite

Komisar, Efrat. 2019. “Filmed Documents. Methods in Researching Archival Films from the Holocaust”. Apparatus. Film, Media and Digital Cultures of Central and Eastern Europe, no. 2-3 (January).

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