By Hengist. In 1981, Jack Glenn, director of the popular 1940s newsreel series March of Time, died at age 76. His obituary, distributed by the Associated Press [and published in the Bergen, New Jersey, Sunday Record on February 15, 1981] let slip an amazing revelation:
“As senior director for the popular movie house newsreel, he often created world events with actors and movie sets. One such news feature film, Inside Nazi Germany, made in 1938, included footage of a “concentration camp” that was filmed on Staten Island with scores of New York City actors. Much of the film’s footage was shot within the borders of the Third Reich by a free-lance cameraman, but [Louis] Rochement [Glenn's producer] felt that the film had been censored by the German authorities and ordered Glenn to re-enact widely reported Nazi camp atrocities.”
Millions of Americans watching the “news”-reels in their local theatres were convinced that they were seeing “the real thing.” How many such images of “reality” that we see on a regular basis are actually the creation of movie magicians?
(Image above: A scene from “Inside Nazi Germany,” the 1938 film produced by Jack Glenn—filmed on Staten Island, not Germany).
It is a fact that the Allies hired Hollywood directors to produce propaganda films after the war instead of using regular army footage.
David Irving commented: Some years ago a British television channel, BBC2 I think, featured an exposé on Glenn’s The March of Time “documentaries.” Among the facts the British investigation revealed were that the famous scenes of SA Brownshirt thugs roughing up their enemies in the streets of Berlin and forcing Jews to scrub the streets in Vienna in 1938, of Japanese soldiers tossing babies in the air from their bayonets, and certain other atrocities, were hate-propaganda filmed in the backlots of Hollywood. (This is not the same as saying that such things did not happen.)
Like much of the film footage produced from GPU (Soviet secret police) archives these shots are now indiscriminately used by modern television producers to flesh out their own documentaries.
They have duped the world’s public for years, and done their own bit to ensure that the wheels of hatred keep churning.
Jonathan Swift wrote: “So, nat’ralists observe, a flea hath smaller fleas that on him prey, and these have smaller still to bite ‘em, and so proceed ad infinitum.” Insert whatever word you choose instead of “flea” and the principle remains the same.
While researching my biography of Dr Joseph Goebbels — no slouch when it came to film propaganda himself — I found that British Intelligence had “re-enacted” the Nazi hangings of the July 20 assassins on piano wire — using actors of course — and had smuggled the film into Switzerland for secret viewings there.
All of this reminds me that the chief cameraman on Schindler’s List explained in the German cinematographers’ trade journal, a year or two after the film unsurprisingly scooped the Oscars, that the reason they had made the film in black-and-white was that in later years people will not be able to tell it apart from a documentary.