Oct 26, 2006

Nazis, knocking back, having a few yuks

Recently discovered film shows SS officers relaxing at a forced labor camp in Russia. The 10-minute movie had been sitting in a British church basement for 20 years before it was discovered.
The film, thought to have been taken by a senior SS officer near the Caspian Sea in 1942, shows prisoners of war unloading logs from a lorry watched by armed guards. Another scene shows Russian peasant women bringing in a harvest and there is footage of mechanics working on Mercedez-Benz staff cars. The cameraman also took shots of his fellow officers enjoying dinner and drinking wine.

Elayne Hoskin, the director of the archive, said: "We are sure it was filmed in southern Russia in high summer and there is an almost unreal feeling of relaxation about it given that the Germans were driven from Russia shortly after.

"One scene shows a high-ranking SS officer with an Iron Cross relaxing with other officers. There is also footage of oil platforms, probably in the Caspian Sea, and shots of German war graves dated 1941.

"The film is quite disturbing because it moves from scenes of Russian prisoners of war and people presumably doing forced labour, to shots of officers laughing over a cup of coffee on a verandah.

"It looks very much like this is something somebody shot to take home to show the wife and kids."

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