These films were unfinished and uncut, the end of the war was only weeks away and the films never made a wartime public showing. They really show the human face of war and are therefore a powerful reminder of the sacrifice of all wars.
The first film is in black and white and the film was found in East German archives, it was filmed on the Oder Front in the last weeks of the war. It starts with an officer asking soldiers how they felt. They say they will give the Russians "what for" when they come. A Soviet deserter is questioned. He says he feared German artillery and that some 300 men in his unit will be put to death because he deserted. He goes on to say that he did not take the German uniform from a dead German, but saw it laying on the ground and he was cold.
The Battalion Commander is interviewed next, he says that his group is built up from various Reserve and Alarm Units, they have been there for a month and realise how important it is to be defending German soil.
Towards the end of the film you see defenders building defences and the camera then pans over the horizon, you can hear Soviet artillery in the background and the comments of the German soldiers building the defences. Very few of these soldiers would have survived the war and therefore this gives the film a very powerful human face.
Click on the film image to view or download the film taken on the Oder Front March 1945 (9 mins 10 Secs.)
The second film is in colour and had been lost for over forty years, taken during the last weeks of the war, the colours are really fantastic and bring the film to life. The clapperboard at the start (if you freeze frame) tells us that the camera man was called Garms and that it was filmed on the Oder Front.
The clapperboard also states that the first unit filmed was the 1st Marine Infantry Division, there were only a very small number of Kriegsmarine infantry units formed very late in the war and this is perhaps the only film ever taken of them.The film shows the soldiers at rest, the quiet before the storm. The second half of the film shows Stug AFVs advancing, although the unit this time is the 5th Jäger Division.
The commentary on this colour film is post-war from a German TV company.
Click on the film image to view or download the Oder Front colour film. (2 Mins. 42 Secs.)