Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|A Newsreel History of the Third Reich Vol 1-5|
Genres: Educational, Documentary
This series, A Newsreel History of the Third Reich , includes unique footage plundered by Russian Troops in 1945. Compiled as it is from German newsreels which were made under the influence of Goebbels Ministry of Propagan... more »
A Worthy But Flawed Project
Roland Spickermann | Odessa, Texas USA | 09/16/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I teach college-level German history, and have over time purchased all 20 DVDs in this series. It's good to see that they are being offered in this more compact format.
The translations in the subtitles, unfortunately, are sometimes only approximate. While they are mostly reliable, I did notice too many needless little errors which should have been caught.
* "Marine" for example, is often translated as "marines", when it should be "naval". "Verbrecher" is "criminal" and not "traitor". (Consequently, instead of being described as "criminal", British forces are described in the subtitles as "traitorous", which makes no sense at all.)
* The subtitles often refer to "Balkan", when clearly "Baltic" is meant.
* Germans in 1940 are engaged in reconstruction in a conquered Polish region known as the "Warteland", but in the subtitles it is referred to as the "Wasteland". (This error, I'm sure was due to someone with good intentions correcting the copy without any knowledge of geography.)
* On another occasion the subtitles talk about "Russian allies" [!!!], while the German announcer talks about "Rumanians".
* D-Day invading troops are referred to as "Scottish", when in fact the film clearly depicts Canadians. The translator heard something about Nova Scotia ("Neuschottland"), and carelessly wrote down "Scottish", instead.
* "Estonian population" (estnisch) is subtitled as "ethnic minorities" (ethnisch). A small slip, perhaps - but the newsreel was showing evacuation scenes from Estonia, where Estonians are not a minority.
Goebbels talks of fighting on reel 19 "to the last breath", but the subtitles say "to the bitter end". (Goebbels - the propaganda minister - is talking here about bravery, NOT about defeat, and the mistranslation misconveys his intent completely.)
The biggest howler, I think, refers to the Volkssturm in volume 19, which the announcers say is accepting everyone "regardless of social status ["Stand" in German] or class". The subtitles translate that as "regardless of race [!!!] or class". "Regardless of race"? The Nazis? Seriously, was anyone proofreading?
There are points where the subtitles merely summarize the audio, missing some interesting details which only German-speakers will catch. Sometimes, though, meanings are missed. Inexplicably, "Bolshevik" is translated throughout as "Russian" - not the same at all, and it matters very much that the newsreels refer to Soviet troops as Bolsheviks. Mostly, the subtitles work, but the numerous errors should make any viewer cautious.
It would also have been helpful to date the newsreels more specifically, instead of simply listing them as in, say, "1941, Part 4". Knowing exactly when in the year certain newsreels might have been shown to German audiences would be useful. (One particular segment, on submarines in the Indian Ocean, is shown on BOTH disks 16 and 17. Someone wasn't paying attention in the editing room! So - is this footage from 1943 or 1944?)
The titling could use work. One on "Hitler's Tenth Anniversary" has perhaps two minutes on the subject (out of 90), for example. The chapter titles on each disk often don't usefully convey the chapter's content.
There are some omissions that definitely deserve explanation, too. Why is there NO mention of Stalingrad on the 1943 newsreels, or of the American declaration of war in the late 1941 or early 1942 reels, for example? Were these 21st-century editing decisions, or missing newsreels, or (much harder to believe!) the newsreels never mentioned these events, despite how much coverage they received in radio and the press? Even just a little explanation of something like this would go a long way.
So: if you are watching them privately, caveat emptor. If you are a teacher who can point out the errors, the series has potential for classroom use, if you are doing a course on World War II or the Third Reich, or on propaganda and communication. Overall, this series could have been made much more reliable and useful, with less hurried translating and editing, and with more documentation."