This Second World War “photo thriller” is a worthwhile documentary from Deutsche Welle.


It’s another fine Deutsche Welle documentary, this time with a few uncharacteristic twists. If you’re interested in the World War II period, especially the little known Polish side of the story, this one’s for you. I enjoyed the film.

A box full of photos from the Second World War serves as the starting point for a historical thriller. It was found by a Polish filmmaker whose grandfather had served in the German army. But what does it mean for Michal Wnuk’s family history?

The photos show prisoners of war in France and Russia – and the Warsaw Uprising of 1944 from a German perspective: Snapshots of the war in black and white. On closer inspection, however, it becomes apparent that Michal Wnuk’s grandfather could not have taken the photos himself, because he never served in those theatres, so Michal sets off to find out where they came from. He discovers that the box belonged to his great uncle, who was in the Polish Home Army. How did he get them? Booty? Evidence? And the films are also puzzling, showing an excursion in the summer of 1939. But who are the people in the pictures? Michal’s search finally takes him to Germany. This German-Polish co-production is a historical thriller, full of riddles and surprising twists, as a hoard of private material turns into a sounding board for great historical events.