Prod.: Messter-Film GmbH. 35mm. L.: 189 m. D.: 9’ a 18 f/s . Bn.
We have decided to show one entire German newsreel from the year 1919. This will give you a valuable insight into the way the news was presented in German movie theatres 100 years ago. This newsreel from Messter was shown in Germany cinemas in the summer of 1919. One report on the funeral of Rosa Luxemburg especially piqued our interest. On 15th January 1919 vigilantes murdered the famous and influential revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg together with her associate Karl Liebknecht. After the assassinations their corpses were thrown in the Landwehrkanal (a canal) in Berlin. At the end of January, an empty coffin for Luxemburg had been buried in a cemetery in Berlin. Luxemburg’s body was not found until 31st May. Her real funeral, which is shown in this newsreel, took place on 16th June 1919. There is something very haunting about this newsreel. Aside from the funeral, all the reports are more or less banalities. We see scenes of bathing in the Wannsee, a soccer game, a tennis championship, a report showing a beautiful gorge in Switzerland, trap shooting in Berlin, a women’s hockey game and a story about Berlin’s trams plus one other serious report about a new treatment for tuberculosis. The report on Rosa Luxemburg seems completely displaced among this other ‘breaking news’. One gets the feeling that it was placed there with an intention: to show how unimportant this woman and her ideas were.