This film, made in the late war years in Germany in FULL COLOR, was meant to show the German people that the war would not change daily life and the populace was backing and helping the troops.
We see happy Hitler Youth marching down farm roads, helping to bring in the hay and the crops. As a break in their routine, they are playing chess in a German village in the Hartz Mountains – on a giant chessboard with real people! Local customs give a warm, light look at German lifestyles in 1944.
We are in Berlin before the intense bombing – at the famed Berlin Zoo, attending outdoor boxing matches, taking boat rides on the lakes…..there are young people at the beach and kids eating ice cream.
There is very little to remind us that Germany is deeply involved in a war for her own survival – a Cossack cavalry troop of the Wehrmacht is on practice maneuvers; an armor unit cleans and services their tank; S-Boats are on training maneuvers passing many heavy units of the Kriegsmarine; the Falshirmjäger (paratroops) in jump school being taught by veterans of the Crete campaign jumping out of JU-52 aircraft; Gebirgsjäger (mountain troops) in a heavy snowstorm in the Italian Alps; German troops in Finland and Norway working with happy locals and potential Luftwaffe pilots are in glider training. German Red Cross ladies are handing out packages and caring for wounded, no matter what uniform.
But we are quickly brought back to the theme of this film – the happy and unchanged life at home. We are in the Busch Circus with elephants, horseback performers, tightrope walkers and naturally, the clowns. There is a look at the wine harvest on the banks of the Rhine with soldiers and young girls collecting the grapes. We see the famed riding school in Vienna with the Lippizaner stalions and we have a good look at the Rehperbahn – this is the bright lights section of Hamburg, and on this evening, it is jammed, as usual, with happy revelers.
This DVD is a wonderful look, with fantastic music, at the German lifestyle that was forever swept away in 1945.