Truth and Lies. Filming in the Terezín Ghetto 1942-1945

Tuesday, 5 November, 2013

Exhibition Jewish Museum Prague

Film was used by the Third Reich as a powerful tool for controlling public opinion. Two propaganda films were made about the Terezín ghetto during the war. On the basis of the latest findings, EHRI partner the Jewish Museum in Prague and the Czech National Film Archive created an exhibition. It charts the history behind both films, focuses on the people who initiated them and describes the conditions for the filming. Many prisoners were forced to take part as actors, extras and film crew members.

Unique film footage and photographs

The exhibition, Truth and Lies. Filming in the Ghetto Terezín 1942–1945, presents the results of research that has been carried out over many years in the Czech Republic and abroad. For the first time, the public will be able to see a montage of fragments from the 1942 film that prisoners had concealed in the ghetto – these were later identified at the National Film Archive, Prague, in 2004. Previously unpublished photographs that were taken in secret during the filming in 1944 and 1945 will also be shown, as well as documentary material on the filming in 1942, which is kept at the National Film Archive in Warsaw. The exhibition will also show both of the preserved fragments of the second film made at Terezín, which are kept at the National Film Archive in Prague and at the Yad Vashem Memorial in Jerusalem. In addition to unique film footage and photographs, there will also be a display of pictures and documents that have previously been published only in specialist journals. Valuable information about the course of the filming is provided by photographs in the Ivan Frič Archive and in the drawings of the Dutch prisoner Jo Spier.

EHRI Terezín research guide

The fragmentation of what has survived of the propaganda films illustrates the broader problem of the dispersion of the Terezín archival files. To overcome this problem, The Jewish Museum in Prague, together with the Terezín Memorial, the Holocaust Memorial Center in Budapest, and Yad Vashem and Beit Theresienstadt in Israel, is working on a Terezín research guide. This (digital) guide is made within the framework of EHRI and will be published on the EHRI portal early 2015.

You can visit Truth and Lies. Filming in the Ghetto Terezín 1942-1945 until 23 February 2014, at the Robert Guttmann Gallery, Jewish Museum Prague.

Read more about Truth and Lies, Filming in the Ghetto Terezín 1942-1945.

First photo: Clapperboard from the Terezín film shoot in 1942, © National Film Archive, Prague

Second photo: Aktualita staff during the filming in Terezín, © Ivan Frič Archive

Third photo: Clapperboard from the Terezín film shoot in 1942, © National Film Archive, Prague