Jerusalem 1938

Jerusalem 1938

Film from Jerusalem, shot in March 1938. The photographs show the old city of Jerusalem and pictures of the new Hebrew University building on Scopus Mountain and various photographs of the new city. Finally, some Arab leaders of the office of the Supreme Islamic Council (SMC), the highest religious Muslim authority in Palestine, are portrayed. Other images we have scanned include various kibbutzim, Tel Aviv, Jaffa, Haifa and the Allenby Bridge.

The background to the film was the appointment of the Woodhead Commission by the British government on 4 January 1938. The Commission is to investigate the practical aspects of the division of Palestine into an Arab and a Jewish part.


Around 1900 Palestine was a remote Ottoman province and rather sparsely populated. It is estimated that there were 400,000 inhabitants living in the area, including modern Jordan, which lies on the other side of the Jordan. Between 1882 and 1903 about 25,000 mainly Russian and Romanian Jews had immigrated to the area around Haifa. Between 1904 and 1914 another 40,000 Russian Jews came to Palestine.

The British Mandate of Palestine

At the end of the First World War, the Ottoman Empire collapsed. Palestine became the mandated territory of the League of Nations. At the San Remo Conference in 1920, Great Britain was given the mandate to administer the territory.

The Palestine mandat

In the preamble to the mandate treaty, the aim of the administration by the League of Nations is to “build a national house for the Jewish people in Palestine”. The rights of the “existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine” are to be preserved. Article 4 states that the Jewish and Palestinian administrations shall cooperate in establishing the Jewish homeland.

Population of Palestine

The 1922 census gives a population of 757,182, including 83,794 Jews and 590,890 Muslims. Between 1919 and 1931 another 115,000 Jews came to Palestine. In 1931, 1,035,821 inhabitants were counted in the mandated area (including Jordan) according to the UN Statistical Yearbook of 1948. Of these, 174,610 were Jews and 759,712 Muslims. According to the UNO, about 280,000 of them lived in present-day Jordan. The ratio of population groups in Palestine west of the Jordan was thus about 1 to 2. By 1939 another 220,000 Jewish immigrants had arrived in Palestine, including many Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany. For 1937, the UN statistical office estimates 389,000 Jewish and 875,000 Muslim inhabitants. Because the Jewish population more than doubled in just 6 years, 6 Muslim Arabs in Palestine without Trans-Jordan now had 5 Jews.

The strong immigration led to great tensions. Already in 1929 there were 3 massacres of Jews with more than 100 dead. In 1936 the Arabs began an uprising against the British Mandate, which was bloodily suppressed.

Nazi Germany and the Arab Uprising

The role of the German Nazi government as financier and promoter of the insurgents is interesting. Between 1933 and 1937, the German Nazi government used Jewish emigration from Germany to Palestine for lucrative foreign exchange deals. Then comes the pan. In 1937, the German Foreign Office notes: “There is a German interest in it if Arabism could be “played off” as a counterweight to the emergence of a Jewish state.

Nazi Germany and the person of Hitler met with sympathy among the Muslims. The main reason for this was the common anti-Semitism, which the Germans still knew how to stir up. The German radio station Radio Zeesen broadcast anti-Semitic articles in Arabic via shortwave in the Middle East. Already in 1924 group of several thousand German colonists living in Palestine opposed against the establishment of a Jewish homeland. Meanwhile, in the 1930s, the colonists were in a strong National Socialist mood and supported the fight of the rebellious Arabs against Britons and Jews. The swastika becomes a pass in insurgent areas.

“The realization that Judaism in the world will always be the irreconcilable opponent of the Third Reich forces the decision to prevent any strengthening of the Jewish position,” the German Foreign Office stated in a 1938 memorandum.

The Jerusalem Mufti Al Huseini flees the mandate area in 1937 to escape arrest. He first went to Iraq, where he organized a pro-German uprising. When these companies failed, he fled to Berlin in 1941. There he was generously supported by Hitler’s Germany as an ally and continued his actions in the Middle East. In a conversation with Hitler, he stated that the Arabs hoped that Germany’s victory would unite Palestine and “eliminate the national Jewish homeland”.

Peel Commission Palestine Map

Background of the filming: The partition plan

Back to 1938: With the partition plan of the Peel Commission, the British government tried to achieve a reorganization of the area between the enemy parties. A Jewish state was to be founded in the area outlined in red on the map. The rest of the territory was to become an Arab state and the territory between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem was to remain under international control.

The two main Jewish leaders, Chaim Weizmann and Ben-Gurion, had convinced the Zionist Congress to ambiguously endorse the Peel recommendations as a basis for further negotiations. But the Arabs rejected the partition plan. In particular, the Mufti of Jerusalem Ahmed Al Husseini insisted uncompromisingly on a return to the status before Jewish immigration. Abdullah I of Jordan was different. Abdullah supported the British partition plan. In 1938 the Woodhead Commission was to clarify the proposals for a division of the mandate area among Jews and Arabs that had already been worked out by the Peel Commission.


The conflicts continue to escalate. On 2 October 1938, 19 Jews, including 11 children, were murdered in the city of Tiberias. During the massacre, 70 armed Arabs set fire to Jewish houses and the local synagogue. On 18 October, British troops took control of the Old City of Jerusalem, which had been occupied by Arab extremists in early October.

Politics in the world war

However, at the beginning of World War II, the British tried to secure the Arab flank by strictly limiting Jewish immigration and even banning the purchase of land for further Jewish settlements. These measures clearly contradict the mandate and cost the lives of many Jews. For they can no longer flee to Palestine before the Holocaust takes its course.

UN Palestine Partition Plan 1947

The decision of the UN 1947

On 29 November 1947 the UN General Assembly adopts Resolution 181 (II), which provides for a division of the mandate area similar to the pre-war plans. In 1946, the UN estimated the Jewish population at about 600,000, the Arab population at 1.1 million, and 400,000 of these in Transjordan. In 1948, the British leave the Mandate. On 15 May the Jews proclaim the foundation of their state in accordance with UN resolutions. The Arab states attack the Jewish state immediately. But the state was able to defend itself successfully. Supported by weapons and diplomacy from the Soviet Union and especially the CSSR.

Jerusalem 19382019-12-05T20:20:06+01:00

The Kinder, December 2 1938

The arrival of Jewish Children in England 1938

Arrival of the first “Kindertransport” of German Jewish children in Harwich on December 2, 1938. The English government had granted permission for adolescents between the ages of five and 17 to enter the country. 200 German-Jewish children were able to travel on this first transport by ship “Prague” via Hoek van Holland to England.
Kindertransport Dokument

The Times writes about the children the day after their arrival: “About half of them come from an orphanage in Berlin that was burned down, the others come from the Hamburg area. Most of the children received notice only 24 hours before departure and were only allowed to bring one Reichsmark and two bags.”

The footage was shot by a Time cameraman. It shows the arrival of the ship and the transport of the children to the Docvercourt holiday home. The children were received by caregivers and assigned to their foster families with great sympathy from the British population and the media. The USHMM has compiled more background material in the Holocaust Encyclopedia.

The document below announces the first transport on 2 December. Dr Max Plaut is mentioned as one of the companions of the transport. Plaut was managing director of the Jewish Community Association Hamburg. His work made it possible for thousands of Jews to escape from Germany. He himself also survived the Nazi era and was able to leave for Palestine during the war.

Further documents have been published by the British National Archives. During the 9 months that the programme lasted until the beginning of the war in 1939, 10,000 Jewish children were allowed to enter Great Britain. One of the transports also saved the children of the Leonore Goldschmidt School in Berlin.

A comprehensive account of the history of child transport can be found in issue 2 2010 of the Budrich Journal.

We have scanned the footage on HD and can license it for use in TV and other media.

Article: Stephan Bleek

The Kinder, December 2 19382019-12-03T15:05:19+01:00

Richard Strauss, Klaus Mann, William Wyler 1945

Richard Strauss 1945.

The story of a never shown film role Richard Strauss shows in his garden. The visits of Klaus Mann and William Wyler to Garmisch in 1945. The great old master of European classicism and his behaviour in the Nazi empire.

For some years I have been looking for film material about German history in the National Archives in College Park. I noticed some material that I didn’t know much about at first. But as always, stories that can be material for an exciting reportage are tied to such shots.

William Wyler in as a war reporter Germany

The composer Richard Strauss was filmed in his garden in Garmisch at the beginning of June 1945. Back then, in the early summer of 1945, film director William Wyler came to southern Germany with a US Air Force film team. Wyler shot color films for the film Thunderbolt!” in Munich, Berchtesgaden, Dachau and other places. The film was taken during a visit to Richard Strauss in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

A very unusual theme, at least in the context of these Wyler films. This footage was never published because Wyler only finished the first of his two planned films because of the end of the war. In the other preserved film roles, which I reviewed and scanned together with Elisabeth Hartjens in the American National Archives, Wyler’s cameramen mainly film the effects of the bombardments of German cities. So why Richard Strauss?

William Wyler and Richard Strauss

We see Strauss with peonies in the garden of the Strauss Villa at Zoeppritzstraße 42 in Garmisch. Little is known about the meeting of Wyler and Strauss. Strauss reads in the score of the opera “Die Liebe der Danae”, which was written between 1938 and 1940 and was first performed in Salzburg in a public dress rehearsal in the summer of 1944. The world premiere of the opera did not take place until 1952 in Salzburg. What is unusual about the style of the recordings are the numerous close ups by Richard Strauss. There are no portraits of any other personality in the collection of these Wyler films.

The US Army and the Strauss Villa

Garmisch-Partenkirchen had been conquered by the US Army on April 30, 1945. On the day of Hitler’s suicide. A troop of the US Army invaded the Strauss Villa to make quarters in the magnificent house. So the 80-year-old composer faced – in Garmisch snow fell that day – the wet and exhausted GIs. He describes in his memoirs that he had introduced himself as the composer of the Rosenkavalier, whereupon the Americans immediately left. Some of the American soldiers involved, however, describe the encounter somewhat differently. The Strauss family served food to the GIs and Richard Strauss played the piano in the living room. This was not very helpful, the Strauss family actually had to leave the house for a few hours. But the soldiers were instructed to move on immediately towards Innsbruck, so they left the house again. Why the Americans had to continue so suddenly has to do with another exciting story – the fights in the Inn valley for Castle Iter. Anyway, the Strauss family can go back to their house.

Lieutenant Alfred Mann

On the evening of the same 30 April, the musicologist and American lieutenant Alfred Mann also came to the Villa von Strauss – Richard Strauss is well known to him. Alfred Mann is the son of the pianist Edith Weiss-Mann. An emigrated connoisseur of Germany and an admirer of Strauss with influence high up. “When the tall, imposing figure of the eighty-year old man appeared in the door frame, it seemed to me as if a chapter from music history were opening before my eyes”. In any case, the Strauss Villa becomes “off limit” after the arrival of Alfred Mann – the US Army now holds its hand over the house of the famous composer and in May 1945 Richard Strauss is the subject of lively visitor tourism. Alfred Mann has nothing to do with another gentleman who will visit Strauss. This Mann is no less a man than Thomas Mann’s son.

Klaus Mann on Richard Strauss, 1945

War Correspondent Klaus Mann

Klaus Mann meets Richard Strauss on 15 May, a wonderful summer day, as he writes. Are the recordings from this context? “I thought it wiser not to disclose my identity,” notes Klaus Mann. The day before, he had visited his destroyed parental home in Poschinger Strasse in Munich. The loss of status and existence was painfully experienced. Now, incognito, he visited the stately villa of an artist who had stayed in Nazi Germany.

By Cpl. KLAUS MANN Staff Correspondent GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN (Bavaria). May 26, (Delayed) – This Alpine village is one of Germany’s most fashionable winter and summer resorts. Now there are no glamorous tourists, but picturesque Garmisch can still boast some illustrious residents. One of them is the world’s most celebrated living composer, Strauss. I made the fairly long trip from Munich to the grand old man of European music. As well as paying homage to his creative genius, I wanted to have a look at an old opportunist about whose behavior during the past 12 years there have been rather unsavory stories. It would be interesting, I thougth, to hear what Strauss had to experience under the Nazi regime. The composer and his occupy a comfortable, roomy villa surrounded by a large, beautifully-kept garden. A companion and I as “two American correspondents” I thought it was not to disclose my identity…”

(…) … “he was all smiles and gracious cordiality as he shook hands health was just fine, he assured us- and, in fact, he looked surprisingly well preserved of 83. His face, with its pinkish complexion, beamed serenely under his silver hair. There was nothing senile about him. NO MORE PLANS Yet when we asked him about his artistic plans he shook his head with philosophical resignation: “No plans for me anymore! I ‘ve written 15 operas, not to mention my symphonic pieces and my many songs. That’s enough for one lifetime. Don’t you think I have deserved some rest?” We agreed, then listened respectfully to his complaints about the way in which the defunct Nazi regime had been dealing with his recent opera “Die Liebe der Danae” (Danae’s Love). The master resented such lack of consideration on the part of a government with whom he had otherwise been on correct, if not friendly, terms. “Of course”, he said, “this was not the first disturbing incident. I have had two rather serious conflicts with the Nazi administration.”

Three German Masters

In “Three German Masters” (Strauss, Emil Jannings, Franz Lehar), Klaus Mann attempts to trace the opportunism of those artists who pacted with Hitler. Although they could have easily turned their backs on the regime because of their international fame. The conversation between Klaus Mann and Richard Strauss actually revolves around the “Love of Danae”, which should have been premiered in Salzburg on August 5, 1944 – but the performance was cancelled because of the assassination attempt by Count Stauffenberg. Strauss interprets the dismissal of his play as a “conflict” with the regime – as Klaus Mann ironically notes with quotation marks. At that time the Salzburg Festival had indeed been cancelled – not a single piece by Richard Strauss.

File card Strauss 1945 NARA

Wylers footage

Wyler’s film camera doesn’t accidentally go into exactly this piece “The Love of Danae”. The scenes of the raw material are staged throughout, from the peonies (shot twice in the raw material) to the close ups of the quietly singing composer reading the score. Klaus Mann describes his conversation “in front of his stately villa, under the beautiful trees of his large well-kept garden”. And mentions that he had two companions. This is exactly where the camera targets Richard Strauss and does not fail to find a symbol for the magnificent garden beforehand.

What is noted in the National Archives

However, the index card for the film material shown here notes that the “Can 9224-1” was shot in June 1945: “Medium shot small hut in the Bavarian Alps – old man picking flowers in foreground – man in Richard Strauss” and “Date Photo’d: June 1945”. The film material was recorded in June 1945 for further processing in New York. During Klaus Mann’s visit, the footage was certainly not shot. But William Wyler knows Klaus Mann from Hollywood. Mann’s report on his encounter with Richard Strauss appears on 29 May 1945 in the American soldier newspaper “The stars and Stripes” under the title “Strauss still unabashed about ties with the nazis”. One day after the article by Klaus Mann, Wyler sends one of his teams to Garmisch and they shoot the footage with Richard Strauss. As Wyler had already made his way back to the U.S. that time, it is unlikely that he met Richard Strauss in person. What is really going on behind the forehead of this world-famous composer? “The love of Danae” – a piece of cheerful renunciation? The naive egocentric? The opportunist?

To be continued

Stephan Bleek

Richard Strauss, Klaus Mann, William Wyler 19452019-12-05T20:53:35+01:00

Terror in Palestine, Spring 1947

Bombings in Palästine 1947

The political development in Palestine in 1947 was marked by a spiral of violence and reprisals. The film from the newsreel Universal News March 1947 shows the departure of Jews to Europe, the arrival of the ship Chaim Arlosoroff (original name Ulua) in Haifa. And the severe bomb attack on the Barclays Bank in Haifa (28.2.1947) and the Goldsmith officers club in Jerusalem (1.3.1947). Finally we see raids by the British military and the arrest of Jews.

The news agency UPI reports on 28 February

JERUSALEM, 28 February 1947 (UP) A series of violent explosions shook the port area of Haifa today after a refugee ship carrying 1,350 non-certified immigrants landed off the nearby Palestinian coast. Two Jews were killed and a British soldier and a Transjordan Border Guard man were seriously wounded when explosives destroyed the Barclay’s Bank security zones in the heart of the Haifa port area. A series of three bombs or landmines exploded on the expected arrival of the refugee ship Haim Arlosorov in the port of Haifa.

Bomb attacks

On 1 March 1947, the Jewish Jerusalem Fighting Force bombed the British Officers’ Club in the Goldsmith’s House in Jerusalem, causing 18 deaths and 25 injuries. Jewish terrorists dressed in British uniforms filled the club with machine gun fire and detonated three backpacks of bombs in the entrance of the building, which severely damaged the building.

The road to independence

The increasing violence prompted the British government to give up its mandate over Palestine and withdraw its troops a year later. From May 1947, the status of Palestine is negotiated at the UN. On 29 November 1947, Resolution 181 (II) is adopted by the UN General Assembly. The resolution contains a plan for the partition of Palestine. In 1948 the British gave up their mandate and the State of Israel was founded, followed by the War of Independence.

Terror in Palestine, Spring 19472019-12-05T20:59:56+01:00

A Computer Glossary

A Computer Glossary

The film “A Computer Glossary” was produced in 1968 for the IBM Pavilion at the San Antonio World Exposition. It shows the functioning of a computer, the information machine, with funny and instructive graphic animations. Ray and Charles Eames created a highly interesting short film.

The designer couple Ray and Charles Eames

Charles Eames and his wife and partner Ray are best known for their chair design or their famous house in Pacific Palisades near Los Angeles. They have shaped the design of the 20th century. It is little known that they have also produced numerous films, including more than fifty films, exhibitions and books for the computer group IBM.

Technique of representation

With the help of animations, characteristic aspects of the logic of electronic problem solving are presented. With its two image levels, the film provides an introduction to the functioning of a computer. A process and its cybernetic representation are illustrated by simple means. The film shows an animated sequence of an event on the first image level and the representation of this event in a flowchart on a second image level. Such flowcharts were the usual basis for the creation of computer programs in the 1960s. The diagram uses the then common classical symbols for data flow diagrams. With the help of templates, such processes were initially recorded manually. The careful analysis and exact representation of the sequence of the respective data flow is the decisive prerequisite for the correct creation of the program instructions for controlling the computer.


The film was made in 1968 by Glen Fleck, an employee of the office of Ray and Charles Eames, with support from Lynn Stoller of IBM. The film won a bronze medal at the Atlanta International Film Festival in 1969.

Hemisfair San Antonio 1968

The World Exposition San Antonio

The film by IBM and the Eames Office was first shown in 1968 at IBM’s Lakeside Pavilion at the Hemisfair World Exhibition in San Antonio, Texas.

Performances in Germany

In the 1970s, he was presented by the US Information Agency in the foreign offices of the USA. We were able to see the film in 1973 at the Amerika Haus in Munich. A copy of the film is now in the National Archives in College Park. A digital copy is in the archive of zb Media. Here is information about the licensing possibilities

To learn more about Ray und Charles Eames visit Eames office page.

A Computer Glossary2020-03-06T17:56:29+01:00


Sputnik 1

Sputnik 1 was the first artificial earth satellite. It marks the beginning of the space age on 4 October 1957.

The satellite was launched for the International Geophysical Year 1957. The spherical Sputnik 1 (diameter 58 cm, weight 83.6 kg) was carried into space by an R-7 rocket. The rocket was designed by Sergei Korolyov. Korolyov becomes the father of the Soviet space program – similar to Wernher von Braun in the USA.


Sputnik flew in its orbit once around the Earth in about 96 minutes. He orbited the Earth for 92 days. His radio transmitter emitted beeping signals. These could be received all over the world. In Germany, Heinz Kaminski was the first person to receive it at the Volkssternwarte Bochum.

Sputnik was a tremendous prestige success for the Soviet Union. Nobody had expected the country to be able to achieve such technical heights. The fact that the Soviet Union was able to launch the first artificial earth satellite at all triggered the so-called Sputnik shock. It showed the USA how small and vulnerable it is. The Sputnik shock opened the ‘Space Race’ between the Soviet Union and the USA.

We can license original footage of the launch of the Sputnik, scanned in 2k.

Contribution: Stephan Bleek