Bombing of Rotterdam in WWII (PIcture: Wikimedia Commons/Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed) - Source: Bombing of Rotterdam in WWII (PIcture: Wikimedia Commons/Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed) at
Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - 14:29
German crew's Rotterdam WWII destruction film discovered
The German Federal Archive has found video images of the destruction of Rotterdam and Middelburg which was filmed by a German film crew in August 1940, a few months after the bombing, NOS reports. Rotterdam was the first city to be redesigned after the total destruction the bombing caused and German planners were very interested in the process. Shortly after the bombing the German government architect Otto traveled to Rotterdam to discuss the plans with mayor Oud and city architect Witteveen. They also visited the destroyed are. In the summer of 1940 a highly detailed film was shot about the destruction of Middelburg and Rotterdam. According to Jantje Steenhuis, director of the Rotterdam Municipal Archives, the images of the destruction in the two cities are not unique as there is footage which shows the damage and debris. What is remarkable is that this film was shot by Germans, who had bombed the city themselves. Steenhuis thinks that Germany's great interest in the reconstruction was mostly economic interest. The ports of Rotterdam were also of great importance to Germany and connection with the German hinterland had to be restored as soon as possible. The German appointed commissioner Seyss-Inquart even appointed a special officer who had to keep any eye on the reconstruction. He ensured that the film was made. The film ended up in the federal archive and Dig it Up, an organization that cares for urban cultural heritage items, sent the film material to the Netherlands. The images will be shown in the Netherlands for the first time in history on February 12th at a meeting of the Historical Society of Rotterdam. The film is about 16 minutes long and is shot on 35mm film in black and white and without sound. An excerpt of the film can be seen here.