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Film Gallery: Siege of Warsaw, Poland 1939 Browse

Bombed hospital in besieged Warsaw, 1939

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Julien Bryan filmed day and night for two weeks in September 1939, documenting Warsaw’s destruction by the Germans. He took his cameras under the same bombing and shelling faced by everyone in Warsaw and did not hesitate to capture the people for whom he felt the most sympathy. In this footage of one of Warsaw’s largest hospitals, the Catholic Hospital of the Transfiguration, and a makeshift maternity ward in the cellar of another hospital, Bryan emphasizes how no place was safe from the German bombing. The contemporary journalist Daniel Eagan recently summarized the legacy of Julien Bryan: “What may be most apparent in his footage today is his respect and admiration for the Poles. Where he initially tried to amass evidence, … Bryan is focusing squarely on the victims, shown in a series of devastating portraits. He calls their faces ‘magnificent,’ and they are. They are also doomed, the unspoken but obvious message behind Siege.”

Find out more about this film footage in the online Film and Video catalog