Film ID:
YFA 5668

THE EAGLE'S NESTS

1962

Visitor Tabs

Description

This travelogue explores the Bavarian cities of Heidelberg, Augsberg and Munich in summertime, followed by a sobering visit to the former Nazi concentration camp at Dachau.

The film opens in Bingley, Yorkshire, where the commentary notes that the filmmaker was born. The Old White Horse Inn sits on the corner of Millgate. A young girl picks flowers in a wood by the River Aire, and a pamphlet titled “Chronicles and Stories – Bingley and District” is shown.

In Germany, in what the commentary suggests is a similar town to Bingley, the occasional car or bicycle passes along a quiet road lined with houses. An imposing wooden door painted with an eagle’s wings and a coat of arms is followed by a red, black and white Nazi flag bearing the swastika symbol.

Title – The Eagles Nests

Title – Photographed recorded and edited by J Eric Hall

Traffic and pedestrians fill the streets of Bonn, passing by the imposing Minster and an ornamental fountain surrounded by flowers.

The golden lion crest of the city of Heidelberg is shown against a red velvet background, followed by the ruins of the castle with its ornate stonework decorations. Visitors take in the view of the green valley from the castle ramparts down to the River Neckar with the Old Bridge crossing it.

In Frankfurt, sunbathers sit on a jetty in the River Main while others take trips on sightseeing boats. In lush green fields away from the city stands a curious small white church with conical roof and narrow tower. A man peers in through a hole in one side to spy the interior, which is revealed to contain an ornate altar with icons of Jesus, candles and golden decoration.

On a densely forested hilltop sits a simple round stone tower with a conical roof. In a different field is a more sophisticated white castle on a hillock with mountains in the background. Eric Hall, the filmmaker, stands in the field looking at a group of wheat sheaves which have been shaped to resemble animals.

In Augsburg, two men cross a bridge to the simple buildings of the Fuggerei, a social welfare settlement established for impoverished Catholic citizens in the 16th century. The simple, light coloured buildings have wooden shutters, and many have flowers at the windows. An elderly woman collects water from a fountain using a metal bucket, and various back courtyards and doorways are seen. The corner of one building has a statue of a winged mascot with a sword.

A horse-drawn cart carries barrels of Hasenbräu beer, and the commentary notes that a beer festival has been held annually in the town for 1000 years. In front of the Augusta brewery is a large marquee, nearby which are a number of smaller tents with flags flying. Another marquee with red and white striped sides reads ‘Fortunabräu’. Inside, a man in a long white apron fills tankards from a beer barrel. A woman grills bratwurst and two men in traditional Bavarian costume exit the tent.

The historic streets and buildings of Munich are lined with flags and banners, including the Hofbräuhaus, a renowned beer hall. The interior of the Cathedral of our Lady, or Frauenkirche, is shown with its large white columns and stained glass window. From the rooftop of the cathedral, countryside can be seen in the distance, past the historic buildings of the town. On the outskirts of Munich, visitors to the stately palace Schloss Nymphenberg stroll around the decorative gardens.

A sign for Dachau is shown followed by a Bräuhaus, or pub, and goats grazing by the river. Along the river are tall barbed wire fences and a young man cycles past a derelict watchtower. People walk and cycle around rows of simple concrete huts which, at the time the film was made, housed 4,000 people displaced after World War Two.

A sign above a concrete wall topped with barbed wire reads “Eingang zum ehemaligen Krematorium” – Entrance to the former crematorium. The neat, single-storey brick building has a plaque on a square of lawn in front of it, which reads “Alter Galgenstand – Old gallows stand”. Various similar plaques noting the site’s grisly history are dotted around the grounds; a pistol range for executions, execution range with blood ditch, and a “grave of thousands unknown” with a large wooden Star of David hanging from the hedge behind.

The crematorium building has its doors open and the tall chimney can be seen behind. Mrs Hall, the filmmaker’s wife, enters and looks around the various small chambers. She enters a doorway with a sign reading “Brausebad” or “shower-bath”. In another chamber, terracotta vases full of flowers and greenery stand before two large cremation ovens, which the woman peers into.

Outside the buildings, a man in a white dog collar, Father Roth, addresses a group of people. A bronze statue to the unknown prisoner stands on a white plinth, surrounded by flowers.

The wooden doorway with eagle coat of arms is seen again, followed by a Nazi insignia comprising a swastika topped with an eagle against a red background. The cover of a book which reads “Never again – Jamais plus” sits against a background of pink flowers.

Title - The End