Agfa 1939

 
Young Polish filmmaker Michał Wnuk finds a box of 120 Agfa Photographs and 2 reels of 16mm film from World War Two. For the first time, he believes he is able to see the war through the eyes of his grandfather, a Silesian who served as a doctor in the Wehrmacht.

The photos are of prisoners of war in France and Russia, exterminations in the Częstochowski ghetto and the Warsaw Uprising of 1944 from the German side. Snapshots of war, memories in black and white. But upon closer inspection, Michał realizes that his grandfather Alois cannot have taken the photos – he wasn’t present at these events.

Michał embarks on a journey to find the story of the Agfa Box. He discovers that his great-uncle, a member of the Polish Home Army, was its eventual owner. But how did it fall into his hands? Was it a spoil of war? Criminal evidence? The 16mm films offer their own puzzles in turn – the Agfa recordings show an outing on the eve of war in Summer 1939. Who are the people in the footage? What happened to them? Such questions take Michał across Poland and Germany – and back in time to the summer of 1939.

This Polish-German co-production is a ‘historical whodunnit’ full of twists and turns, as a piece of family history enters the stage of the 20th century’s major events.

Culture: In Michał Wnuk’s documentary debut, his private family history becomes an introduction to a story about the difficult Polish-German past. It all started with a film in his family archives. Amongst the many family mementos given to him by his father was a 16mm film that revealed pictures of daily life on the front during World War II. There were also 120 photographs that the author – most probably a German soldier – took of the Nazi campaign, massive exterminations in the Częstochowski ghetto, the destruction of Warsaw after the Uprising in 1944…

A film by Michał Wnuk

Camera: Michał Popiel-Machnicki
Sound: Paulina Bocheńska, Michał Robaczewski
Editor: Maciej Pawliński
Creative Producer: Mareike Müller
Executive Producer Balabusta: Magdalena Kaminska
Executive Producer DOCDAYS: Antje Boehmert
Commissioning Editor for rbb/ARD: Rolf Bergmann

A production of DOCDAYS and Balabusta in co-production with rbb/mdr for ARD. With support by the Foundation for Polish-German Cooperation and the Polski Instytut Sztuki Filmowej.

Length: 52/45 min
Release Date: 2014

Young Polish filmmaker Michał Wnuk finds a box of 120 Agfa Photographs and 2 reels of 16mm film from World War Two. For the first time, he believes he is able to see the war through the eyes of his grandfather, a Silesian who served as a doctor in the Wehrmacht.

The photos are of prisoners of war in France and Russia, exterminations in the Częstochowski ghetto and the Warsaw Uprising of 1944 from the German side. Snapshots of war, memories in black and white. But upon closer inspection, Michał realizes that his grandfather Alois cannot have taken the photos – he wasn’t present at these events.

Michał embarks on a journey to find the story of the Agfa Box. He discovers that his great-uncle, a member of the Polish Home Army, was its eventual owner. But how did it fall into his hands? Was it a spoil of war? Criminal evidence? The 16mm films offer their own puzzles in turn – the Agfa recordings show an outing on the eve of war in Summer 1939. Who are the people in the footage? What happened to them? Such questions take Michał across Poland and Germany – and back in time to the summer of 1939.

This Polish-German co-production is a ‘historical whodunnit’ full of twists and turns, as a piece of family history enters the stage of the 20th century’s major events.

Culture: In Michał Wnuk’s documentary debut, his private family history becomes an introduction to a story about the difficult Polish-German past. It all started with a film in his family archives. Amongst the many family mementos given to him by his father was a 16mm film that revealed pictures of daily life on the front during World War II. There were also 120 photographs that the author – most probably a German soldier – took of the Nazi campaign, massive exterminations in the Częstochowski ghetto, the destruction of Warsaw after the Uprising in 1944…

 

A film by Michał Wnuk

Camera: Michał Popiel-Machnicki
Sound: Paulina Bocheńska, Michał Robaczewski
Editor: Maciej Pawliński
Creative Producer: Mareike Müller
Executive Producer Balabusta: Magdalena Kaminska
Executive Producer DOCDAYS: Antje Boehmert
Commissioning Editor for rbb/ARD: Rolf Bergmann

A production of DOCDAYS and Balabusta in co-production with rbb/mdr for ARD. With support by the Foundation for Polish-German Cooperation and the Polski Instytut Sztuki Filmowej.

Length: 52/45 min
Release Date: 2014